August 4, 2022

Bahamas Foreign Tour Blog

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The Ohio State men’s basketball team headed to the Bahamas for its foreign tour from August 4-9. Gary Petit, Associate Director of Athletics Communications, kept a blog throughout the trip.

For more photos and highlights, check out the team’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.


AUG. 8-9 – FINAL TWO DAYS

Our last two days following the games were filled with free time. This was the player’s and staff’s opportunity for a little rest and relaxation to end the summer.

The only thing on the itinerary on Monday was a catamaran boat tour. We took off from the marina and headed out about 30 minutes away where we dropped anchor and explored life under the sea with a little snorkeling. Again, not going to call anyone out, but almost everyone got in the water at some point. We also had lunch on the boat on the way back. The rest of the day was on our own.

Tuesday morning gave us one final chance to hit the beach and the water slides before we departed around 1 p.m. The police escort for the roughly 12-mile trek to and from the airport was a nice touch and because of it, we got a lot of interesting looks. We got back to Columbus around 8:15.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Overall, it was a tremendous trip. Everyone had fun. We bonded. We played some basketball. We learned. We explored. We relaxed. We even heard some good news while on the trip.

The players are all headed home for a couple of weeks to spend time with family before returning for the start of classes on August 22. Preseason practice will officially begin a little more than a month later and we’ll be playing games really soon!


AUG. 7 – GAME vs. PUERTO RICO

Gameday No. 2. Today was a similar schedule to yesterday with just breakfast and pregame meal on the itinerary before the game this evening. Typically, in a multi-team event where we play back-to-back games, the coaches want the players off their feet, resting, rehabbing and getting ready for the next game. But this trip is different. Coach said this trip was a reward for all the work they put in during the summer. We also don’t travel to the Bahamas very often. Enjoy it while you can.

So that meant more time at the pool. More waterslides. More beach. More time in the sun. As you can see by the videos, the players (and everyone else) took full advantage.

The players started to lock in after pregame meal. Doesn’t matter how you approach a game, when the score is being kept, you flip into game mode. As evidenced by the UNO game a couple nights ago, these guys are competitive. Doesn’t matter how much sun they took in (Sean’s shoulders almost matched his red jersey), the guys were ready to compete.

The Puerto Rican team was very different from the Egyptian team yesterday. Puerto Rico was much more guard dominant and wasn’t as big inside. Their guards were talented and experienced. One name that Buckeye fans will remember is Alphonso Plummer who seemed like he made 25 three pointers in the second half of Illinois’ comeback last year in Champaign.

Plummer and the Puerto Ricans came out hot in the first quarter and made five of their first eight three-pointers. But the Buckeyes kept pace and only trailed 20-17 after one. The Buckeyes dominated the second quarter. An 11-0 run midway through eventually helped push the lead out to 39-30 after a Eugene Brown III three-pointer. The defense picked up as well, as the Puerto Ricans missed all three three-point attempts in the second quarter. The Buckeyes took a 39-34 lead into halftime. Zed Key had a nice first half with nine points and the Finger Guns even made an appearance.

The defensive pressure remained at the onset of the second half. Bruce Thornton and Tanner Holden combined for a steal and they pitched it ahead to a streaking Key who dunked it on the break, raising the roof and forcing a PR timeout with OSU up 54-43. Brice Sensabaugh made two more threes and the Buckeyes led 60-51 heading to the fourth.

Perhaps the second game in two days may have caught up with the Buckeyes a little in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t as clean as the second and third quarters, but they still clung to a 71-68 advantage with 1:15 to play. Isaac Likekele had a great defensive play to create a steal which led to a Thornton lay-in on the break and the Buckeyes had a two-possession lead with under a minute to go. Sean McNeil made a couple of free throws and the Buckeyes had their second win on the trip, 75-68.

Another gritty effort down the stretch against a solid, sound team of men. A number of these guys have played a lot of basketball overseas. Coach Holtmann said afterwards that this was the most he’s learned about his team on a foreign tour because of the quality of competition that we faced.

The winning was nice. That’s always the goal when the score is being kept. But this trip was about bonding and growing. Mission accomplished.

Ohio State Buckeyes

 


AUG. 6 – GAME vs. EGYPT

Saturday was another beautiful day. A light day leading up to the game. Just breakfast and pregame meal with a little beach time sandwiched in between.

The game with Egypt was played under full FIBA rules with four 10-minute quarters. Overall, it was very physical game. The officials were letting them get up and down the floor and play, which is probably what both coaches wanted in this game.

The opening 20 minutes was a good back and forth battle. The first quarter was understandably slow, but the Buckeyes went on a 10-2 in the second quarter to take a 24-17 lead. Egypt answered back with a 12-1 run of its own and eventually led 34-32 at the break.

In the third quarter, the Buckeyes opened up a pair of five-point leads and would take a 49-45 lead into the fourth quarter. A nice strong play for a lay-in by Isaac Likekele and a three-pointer by Brice Sensabaugh gave the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game at 61-51 with just over five minutes to play. Egypt countered with the next nine points to cut the lead to one before Tanner Holden hit a big corner three-pointer.

The biggest dunk of the game from Roddy Gayle Jr. with just over a minute to play as he drove the baseline and hammered one home to push the lead to 68-65. It was a great moment for the freshman. He then made two free throws to extend the lead to 70-65 and the Buckeyes finished the final seconds with a 72-68 victory.

 

With 10 new players, no one really knew what these games would look like. But I think everyone came away thinking happy with how this first game went. Not just because of the final score. But getting under the gun, in crunch time and seeing what we had. That was what this trip is all about. Team bonding. And that’s exactly what happened in the game’s closing minutes.

Tomorrow will be a similar schedule as we’ll take on the Puerto Rican national team at 5 p.m.


AUG. 5 — PRACTICE DAY

Friday started with a beautiful breakfast on the balcony of the Bridge Suite at the Atlantis Resort. Hard to beat that start to a day with the views and the sun.

Ohio State Buckeyes

We then headed to practice and got our first look at the Imperial Arena, which is set in one of the largest ballrooms in the conference center at the Atlantis. It’s not setup quite the same way as it is for the Battle for Atlantis, but the court is the same. It took a little bit of time to get used to the site lines but everyone seemed to comfortable after about 30 minutes.

The team practiced for just about two hours. They typically do a shooting drill either the day of or the day before a game where they split into two groups and compete in a shooting drill from different locations on the floor. The drill was six minutes long and was divided into 30 second segments. Usually, there is a little bit of competition but today, it was taken to a whole different level. Coach Holtmann said five players from the winning group would start on Saturday and then five players from the losing group would start on Sunday.

At the end of the 12 rotations (and a good bit of friendly chirping back and forth), remarkably, the teams were tied. It was decided that the tiebreaker would be halfcourt shots and Team Scarlet came away with the win as Colby Baumann and Brice Sensabaugh each made a shot from half court. So tomorrow against the Egyptians, five players from the group of Baumann, Sensabaugh, Zed Key, Owen Spencer, Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil and Tanner Holden will start. Justice Sueing was also on that squad but is not playing in the games this weekend. Sunday’s starters will be from the group of Isaac Likekele, Felix Okpara, Eugene Brown III, Roddy Gayle Jr., Bowen Hardman and Kalen Etzler. Seth Towns was on that team as well and he isn’t playing this weekend either.

Ohio State Buckeyes

The afternoon gave everyone an opportunity to take the water slides and the lazy river. Pretty sure everyone found their way on to a floating tube at some point today.

Friday’s dinner was supposed to be a Beach Bash out on one of the beaches, but rain rolled through just before dinner time and forced dinner inside the Bridge Suite. While waiting for the food to be re-routed, the players broke out the UNO cards. I’m sure your families have likely had some spirited games of UNO and this game was no exception. Just like a typical family, there was some loud yelling and a lot of laughs. We ate burgers and mac and cheese and barbeque chicken and finished it off with some really good brownies. It was another tremendous night as a group.

Taking it easy around the resort tonight and getting ready for gameday tomorrow.


AUG. 4 — TRAVEL DAY

Welcome from Nassau! It was travel day and we couldn’t have asked for an easier day of travel. We chartered a Bahamas Air plane and took to the sky around 11:30 a.m. and landed in the Bahamas around 1:45.

Ohio State Buckeyes

The weather was perfect and exactly what you would expect in the Caribbean. 90 degrees. A little shower in the afternoon. And HUMID.

Light day on the itinerary as everyone got checked in and all we did was walk to dinner. We went to a really nice spot around the corner from the resort where we broke bread, indulged in salad, meatballs, cheesy chicken, calamari, shrimp and then topped it off with cannoli and cheesecake.

We learned at dinner who could and couldn’t swim. Not going to call anyone out but some of the guys better keep their life jacket on while riding the catamaran.

Ohio State Buckeyes

We also are blessed this week to have access to the Bridge Suite at the Atlantis Resort. For those who have been to or have seen the resort, the Bridge Suite is the iconic bridge between the two main towers. The suite is amazing. Tremendous views on both sides. The master bedroom room has his and hers closets and bathrooms and more room than anyone could need. The main part of the suite is large enough to hold our team meetings and meals for the week.

The trip starts in earnest on Friday as we’ll have practice and begin our prep for a pair of exhibition games.