(Image courtesy springfield.edu, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com) 

NCAA basketball season is upon us – specifically Ohio State’s 2019-2020 season opener. In a game that would not hearken back to the days of Jerry Lucas (although he was in attendance) and Oscar Robertson, Ohio State shook off a poor first half performance to secure a 64-56 win.

Ohio State trailed 26-19 at the half, and honestly if I hadn’t told JC that I’d do the game recap, I’d have switched over to watch “Ancient Aliens”. I’m glad I stuck around so that I could watch Kyle Young’s double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds) to keep Ohio State in the game, particularly in the first 20 minutes. In the first half, the Buckeyes shot 31% from the field, 11% from 3-point range and were 0-fer at the free throw line. Cincy wasn’t much better, but they did have the lead.

In the first 7:40 of play, it took Ohio State that long to score, the Buckeyes missed 7 field goal attempts, 3 free throws and committed 5 turnovers. You can see why I was reaching for the remote…

Fortunately, Ohio State found it’s game in the second half while Cincy continued to flounder offensively as the Buckeyes outscored the Bearcats 45-30 in the closing half.

In the first 3:05 of the second half, OSU outscored UC 11-3 to take their first lead of the game, 30-29. Somewhat amazingly, Ohio State never lost the lead for the remainder of the game, with the margin being between 4-8 points for the majority of the contest.

The Buckeyes had had a very balanced offense with only one player players in double figures, Kyle Young with 14 points. Of the nine players who played, eight scored, with the individual totals between 5 and 9 points. Truly, a team effort.  Kyle also led the Buckeyes with 13 rebounds. Kaleb Wesson grabbed 11 rebounds. Kaleb, Luther Mohammad, C.J. Walker and D.J. Carton each had 2 assists.

The Bearcats had three players in double figures. Keith Williams and Jarron Cumberland had 13 points each and Chris McNeal had 11. Tre Scott led Cincy with 11 rebounds. Cumberland had 3 assists.

Ohio State shot 40% from the field (20-49), 31% (4-21) from 3-point range and 65% (19-29) from the foul line.  

Cincinnati shot 33% (19-57) from the field, 19% (5-20) from 3-point range and 61% (14-23) from the foul line. 

What Went Right

Second half play “went right”. They played a lot better at both ends of the floor, particularly offensively. Their perimeter defense was stellar, limiting Cincy to 1-9 in 3-pt shooting.  

Bench scoring was decent enough – three of the four players that saw time scored 21 points. 

They out-rebounded Cincy 41-37 with 14 of these being offensive rebounds. They missed a lot of shots, so the O/R number can stand to improve. Or, they can shoot better…

The won. I guess that’s pretty much the ultimate metric. 

What Didn’t

First half foul shooting was abysmal – they didn’t make a single free throw. Fortunately, they had only five attempts, so a lot of points weren’t left on the floor.

Blocking out. Cincy grabbed 16 offensive rebounds that resulted in 13 2nd chance points. OSU had 8 2nd chance points. 

Box Scores

Cincinnati box score:

Screenshot (16)

Ohio State box score:

Screenshot (17)



  • Aside from defensive rebounding, Ohio State looked very good on defense against Cincy.  They held Cincy to .844 points per possession (PPP). That ranked Cincy’s offense #176 of 227 teams that have played. 
  • Speaking of defense, I like the ‘new look’ slimmed down Kaleb Wesson. He seems to be able to move faster/quicker and had better endurance. 
  • Continuing with defense, I thought Ohio State played good team defense. Except for a couple early game gaffes, OSU was in position and quickly rotated off the ball into proper position. It was hard for me to tell if Cincy’s 33% FG was a result of OSU’s defense or poor shooting – I prefer to think it was the defense.


Up Next

The Buckeyes host U-Mass Lowell on Sunday November 10th. Tip-off is set for 4:00 pm Eastern. You can watch the game on ESPNU or listen to it on 97.1 The Fan. Or both.

The RiverHawks open their season on Friday, November 8th against LIU.