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OSU pulls away from YSU in second half

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

YSU unable to duplicate first-half success

By Brian Dzenis

bdzenis@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

It was too much to ask for Ohio State to get caught napping twice.

The Youngstown State Penguins led the No. 15-ranked Buckeyes at halftime, but when the home side started rolling, Cinderella turned into a pumpkin as YSU lost, 75-56, Tuesday night at the Schottenstein Center.

The Penguins close non-conference play with a 4-9 record.

Ohio State (10-1) already dealt with a mid-major scare last Saturday in a 73-71 win against Bucknell. The Buckeyes needed to rally after losing their halftime lead and couldn’t feel any relief until the Bison missed a buzzer-beater to close out the contest.

“We’re not mature enough. We’re not mature enough to understand that that’s a recipe for disappointing losses,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “We’ll see if we learn. We have to be better with that and I think it reveals the areas we need to grow in.”

Buckeyes sophomore Kaleb Wesson scored 26 of his career-high 31 points in the second half as the Penguins had no answer for the 6-foot-9 forward.

“We’re not going to see a guy like that in the Horizon League,” YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “No disrespect to anybody in our league because we have good bigs, but that guy, we’re not seeing any more of him.”

Freshman Darius Quisenberry, who grew up less than an hour from Columbus in Springfield, led the Penguins with 17 points.

“It was fun. It was a great experience for me playing at The Ohio State. It’s the one school you hear about growing up in Ohio,” Quisenberry said. “It was great to play near my hometown. I had my family here and I think it was a fun experience for them, too.”

Naz Bohannon made a career-high three 3-pointers in an 11-point performance. Antwan Maxwell Jr. made his first start with the Penguins and the Charleston Southern transfer put up six points and seven rebounds.

The Penguins threw a haymaker at the Buckeyes in the form of a 14-2 run while the home side missed their first six shots to start the game. Ohio State responded with an 11-2 run to ensure it wouldn’t be routed. The Buckeyes missed their first 10 3-point attempts before C.J. Jackson made the Buckeyes’ first 3 to make it 25-22 YSU at the break.

The Penguins — the smaller of the two teams at every position — outrebounded the Buckeyes 25-22 in the first half and held them to 24-percent shooting from the floor.

“We played West Virginia this year and they had tremendous length,” Quisenberry said. “Length really isn’t a bother. You just have to get into their body and finish over top of them.”

The visiting Penguins held the lead at halftime, but couldn’t replicate their first-half fast start. In the first four minutes, YSU was called for six fouls, committed two turnovers and its only scoring came on a pair of Quisenberry free throws.

In that same stretch, Ohio State scored 10 points. At the 16:57 mark in the second half, OSU took its first lead with Wesson’s layup to make it 29-27. The Buckeyes never let the lead slip way.

“I like those officials. They did what they’re supposed to do: call fouls. I don’t blame them,” Calhoun said.

Jackson and Luther Muhammad each put up 11 points for the Buckeyes.

YSU earned a combined $175,000 serving as opponents for Pitt and OSU.