Ohio State Struggles, but Survives Cincinnati, 64-56

BruceHooley

It wasn't pretty, unless you're a devotee of the genre of art where paint is randomly splashed on canvas, then swirled and stomped into something kinda, sorta recognizable.

The only thing worthy of hanging on the wall from 18th-ranked Ohio State's 64-56 victory over Cincinnati on Wednesday at Value City Arena was the, "W," in the left-hand column from the Buckeyes' season opener.

"We could not buy a bucket or a free throw for what seemed like the first half of the first half," Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. "I started to wonder if we were going to score."

OSU finally did, more than seven minutes in, after failing on each of its first five free throws, three of which came in the one-and-one.

Yes, Ohio State went so long without a field goal it was in the bonus before Kyle Young's dunk in transition ended the drought.

Young finished with career-highs of 14 points and 13 rebounds, the only Buckeye player in double-figures on a night when they shot 31% from the field.

"Give Cincinnati credit," Holtmann said. "They took us out of everything. We literally scrapped our offense at halftime, because we could not run what we were trying to run. We just said, Hey, listen, we're going to have to open the floor and guys are going to have to make plays. And we were a lot better. We just hung on."

Ohio State endured a brutal first half in which it went 7:40 without a point, shot 1-for-9 from 3-point range, 0-for-5 from the free throw line and had eight turnovers.

Oh, the Buckeyes also allowed 12 UC offensive rebounds through 20 minutes.

Kaleb Wesson scored only two points through 20 minutes and managed to get off only four shots. He finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.

When you're playing good teams this time of year, it's not always going to be aesthetically pleasing," Holtmann said. "We kind of personified that tonight, didn't we? Hopefully, our youth will get better in time. Hopefully, we'll get them ready for what's coming."

Villanova is Ohio State's next marquee opponent on Wednesday, after a Sunday home game against UMass-Lowell.

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