Ohio State Stays Unbeaten With Rout of North Carolina
Ohio State used the circumstance that signaled trouble a year ago as the launch pad for its getaway to a 74-49 victory over No. 7 North Carolina on Wednesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Leading by 14 with six minutes left, the Buckeyes offered a 9-0 burst upon the exit of leading scorer and rebounder Kaleb Wesson with his fourth foul.
That sent a 62-48 margin to 41-48 and sent partisans at the Dean Smith Center scurrying for the exits.
"We were able to have some things go our way for sure, but our players really performed," OSU coach Chris Holtmann said.
Sixth-ranked OSU (8-0) will seek to open Big Ten play with a victory when it hosts 7-1 Penn State at noon Saturday in Value City Arena.
Kyle Young scored twice inside around a C.J. Walker 3-pointer and two E.J. Liddell free throws to power Ohio State's decisive response to Wesson's fourth personal.
Duane Washington led OSU with 18 points, 12 of which came in the first 10 minutes.
Liddell scored 12 off the bench and Wesson and Walker each had 10.
North Carolina shot just 27%, extending Ohio State's streak of holding every opponent this season under 40% and under 60 points.
OSU outrebounded the Tar Heels, 48-32.
"We were really committed on that end," Holtmann said. "We were pretty solid."
The Buckeyes wasted a chance to take control in the first half, committing 10 turnovers to keep North Carolina within two at the break.
"We turned it over too much," Holtmann said. "I was playing some different guys together that we hadn't always played. That was partly on me. But we have to get better at those things. Fortunately we were able to come out and play better in the second half."
Ohio State stretched its two-point halftime lead to 54-40 by the midpoint of the second half and held the margin in double figures despite Washington missing a dunk in transition and Wesson acquiring two charging fouls on successive possessions.
The preservation of the advantage was more a failure by the Buckeyes, however, considering it came amid a stretch where Carolina coach Roy Williams benched all five of his regulars to express his disapproval with their performance.
The Tar Heels' backups fought gamely with the headliners out, however, keeping the crowd involved by forcing three more Ohio State turnovers.
D.J. Carton fought off Carolina's advance within 57-48 with a three-pointer from the left corner at the 7-minute mark, after which Williams went back to his starters.
C.arton rebuild the lead to 14 with two free throws, but then Wesson gained his fourth foul on his third offensive foul of the second half with 5:59 left.
But instead of signalling a Tar Heels' comback, Wesson's absence triggered Ohio State's getaway.
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