Ohio State Wins in Advance of Villanova Visit on Wednesday

BruceHooley

Ohio State warmed up for a stiff challenge coming up in the middle of the week with a Sunday stroll past UMass-Lowell, 76-56, on Sunday at Value City Arena.

The 18th-ranked Buckeyes (2-0) will play host to No. 10 Villanova on Wednesday in the Gavitt Games, a series between the Big Ten and the Big East.

"They have fantastic players, a fantastic system and a great culture," OSU coach Chris Holtmann said of Villanova, which won the NCAA Championship in 2016 and 2018. "It's going to be a great challenge."

OSU-Villanova will tip at 6:30 p.m. (FS1-TV) and feature two highly-touted freshmen classes.

The Buckeyes boast E.J. Lidell, D.J. Carton and Alonzo Gaffney, while Villanova has the nation's No. 5 class that includes a pair five-star recruits in guard Bryan Antoine and forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

Antoine is doubtful to play Wednesday, having just been cleared to practice last week because of a pre-season injury.

Carton had 13 points and 4 assists for OSU (2-0).

Kaleb Wesson had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists for the Buckeyes, who played without his brother, Andre Wesson.

"I think these two games he's just played the game the right way," OSU coach Chris Holtmann said of Kaleb Wesson. "It's a real credit to him, his growth and his maturity as a player."

One of OSU's best defenders, Andre Wesson suffered a fractured eye socket in a season-opening win over Cincinnati and is likely out for three weeks.

Ohio State nevertheless held Christian Lutete, who scored 51 points for UMass-Lowell in its previous game against LIU-Brooklyn. to 4-of-12 shooting and nine points.

OSU pulled away from a 16-13 struggle midway through the first half to lead, 38-25, at the break.

It expanded that margin to 20 via 3-pointers from Luther Muhammed and Duane Washington inside the 16-minute mark and never led by fewer points the rest of the way.

I thought the start of our second half we played with really good energy," Holtmann said. "For most of the second half, the first 15 minutes, I thought we played with good purpose and energy."

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