Ohio State rebounded from its first loss of the season Sunday night and collected its first conference win in the process.
The No. 16 ranked Buckeyes defeated Minnesota, 79-59, at home less than a week after dropping a 72-62 contest to Syracuse. Ohio State moved to 7-1, 1-0 while the Golden Gophers dropped to 6-2, 0-1 on the year.
Chris Holtmann’s squad was without Luther Muhammad against the Gophers after Muhammad dislocated his shoulder in the loss to Syracuse. Muhammad was in attendance, but did not suit up as Keyshawn Woods took his place in the starting lineup.
Both teams started slowly as the conference foes struggled to an 8-5 score just more than five minutes into the contest. A flagrant-one foul on Minnesota’s Michael Hurt kicked off an 18-2 run for Ohio State that started with two technical free throws from Musa Jallow.
Jallow scored nine of his 11 first half points during that stretch as Ohio State’s lead ballooned to as many as 19 in the first 20 minutes. However, the Gophers went on a 9-0 run just before the half, briefly cutting the Buckeye lead to eight before an old-fashioned three-point play from Andre Wesson gave Ohio State a 39-28 lead heading into halftime.
Ohio State stifled any momentum Minnesota had coming out of the locker room as Kaleb Wesson, who spent much of the first half on the bench with early foul trouble, scored nine points in the first 4:32 of the second half to extend the Buckeye lead to 50-35.
The Buckeyes led by as many 23 before the game was over, as Holtmann got offensive contributions from a number of unlikely sources. Andre Wesson poured in a career-high 16, Jallow finished with 11 and Kyle Young added 10. Kaleb Wesson and C.J. Jackson also finished in double-digits scoring, contributing 15 and 11 respectively.
The Gophers were led by guard Amir Coffey, who scored a game-high 19 points in the loss.
Ohio State is set to return to the court Wednesday for another conference matchup, this time against Illinois at the United Center in Chicago. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised on BTN.