Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann told reporters this week that he anticipated the Buckeyes' game against Morehead State would be their most physical game so far this season.
His defense was ready for the challenge.
Turns out the offense was too.
In what was certainly its best effort to date on the defensive end of the floor, Ohio State stayed unbeaten through the beginning of the season with a 77-44 win over Morehead State on Wednesday.
With the visiting Eagles trying to stay within striking distance at the end of the first half, Ohio State allowed Morehead State to connect on just 4-of-30 from the floor in the second half. The Eagles hit just 1 of their last 21 shots from the floor.
During that same stretch, the Buckeyes hit 11-of-22 from the floor as they pulled away.
The Eagles wanted to play through freshman big man Johni Broome, who stands at 6-10 and came off a 25-point, 12-rebound double-double in their win over Arkansas State. But Ohio State's defensive combination of E.J. Liddell, ,Kyle Young and Zed Key handled Broome nicely. In fact, he didn't score until the 15:52 mark of the second half on a put-back bucket after Zed Key had fallen to the floor.
It rarely felt like Morehead State had an easy possession. The Buckeyes constantly had their hands in passing lanes and they constantly pressured the ball-handler. OSU forced 17 turnovers and scored 17 points off those MSU mistakes.
E.J. Liddell led the Buckeyes offensively with 16 points. He was one of five in double figures with Justice Sueing, C.J. Walker, Duane Washington Jr. and Kyle Young all contributing 10+ on the night. The Buckeyes continue to be one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country (they were 13-of-16 on the night) and thanks to an explosive second half with seven 3-pointers, OSU had it's best shooting game from deep this year as well.
With the win, the Big Ten moves to 33-3 in the non-conference action at the beginning of the season. Chris Holtmann said before the season he thinks the league is as deep as its ever been and so far, Big Ten teams are off to a terrific start.
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