Ohio State’s final non-conference tune-up of the 2018-19 season came and went on Saturday afternoon in Columbus, and the Buckeyes had little issue collecting their final win of the 2018 calendar year.
The Buckeyes used a late first half spurt to pull away from High Point, taking down the Panthers 82-64 in a game that featured just enough intrigue to make things interesting, at least in the first half.
Ohio State opened an early 14-6 lead on the Panthers before Tubby Smith’s crew rattled off a 16-2 run to take a six point lead with 7:02 to play in the opening frame. Chris Holtmann’s team, coming off an 80-66 win over UCLA on Dec. 22, responded with a run of its own. Led by Luther Muhammad, Ohio State went on a 19-2 run and eventually took a 37-28 lead into halftime and never looked back. Muhammad surpassed his career-high in points in the first half alone, scoring 14 in the first 20 minutes, finishing with 15.
Holtmann’s team opened the second half on a 14-4 run and got balanced scoring, as four players finished the win in double figures. Andre Wesson chipped in 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds while C.J. Jackson led all scorers with 20 points, 14 of which were scored in the second half.
For the second straight game, Keyshawn Woods started in place of Kyle Young. Woods finished with seven points while Young, playing his third game off the bench this season, finished with five.
After registering double-doubles in two of his last three games entering the matchup against High Point, Kaleb Wesson again put together a solid performance. He finished with 17 points and four boards, despite not converting a shot inside the three-point arc in the first half. His first shot attempt in the second half resulted in a made layup.
Ohio State is set to return to action Jan. 5 at home against Michigan State, which currently sits at No. 8 in the country. The Buckeyes defeated the Spartans in their lone matchup last season, 80-64, when Tom Izzo’s squad came to Columbus ranked No. 1 in the country. Tip is set for Noon.