COLUMBUS, Ohio – All five starters scored in double figures as No. 23 Ohio State improved to 3-0 on the season with a 77-44 win on Wednesday night over Morehead State. The game was played at Ohio State’s Covelli Center. It was the Buckeyes’ second straight game in the brand new arena, which opened in the fall of 2019 and is the home of Ohio State wrestling, gymnastics and volleyball.
E.J. Liddell led the Buckeyes with 16 points and seven rebounds while Duane Washington Jr., C.J. Walker and Justice Sueing all added 11 points. Kyle Young narrowly missed a double-double, finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds.
“This was a definite improvement from the other night,” said head coach Chris Holtmann, referring to the Buckeyes’ 74-64 win on Sunday over UMass-Lowell. “We played more connected on both ends of the floor. This is a good win and most importantly we saw a lot of improvement.”
The Buckeyes’ defensive effort was highlighted by holding Morehead State to just four second-half field goals and 17 total points.
“Defense was huge for us tonight,” said Young. “We’ve been focused on getting consistent stops and tonight that was huge for us.”
After an evenly-played opening seven minutes, Ohio State put together a 6-0 run, keyed by a Sueing jumper and two free throws, to take a 12-7 lead. The Buckeyes would hold onto that lead for the remainder of the game, building it up to a double digit advantage (26-16) at the 6:33 mark. Ohio State would take it largest lead of the game, 37-24, inside of one minute to play in the opening period and led 37-27 at halftime.
Liddell led all scorers with 12 first-half points. He connected on four of six from the field and all four of his free throws. Sueing and Walker each added seven points while Young had four points and five rebounds. The Buckeyes outrebounded Morehead State 20-11 and went 10 for 10 from the free throw line.
Ohio State used a deep rotation in the opening 20 minutes as nine different players saw playing time of six minutes or more. Additionally, seven of the nine players got into the scoring column.
A 7-2 run to open up the second half gave Ohio State what at that point was its largest lead of the game, 44-29, and forced Morehead State to use a timeout with 16:57 to play. The run was keyed by a Walker layup in transition, a three-pointer by Duane Washington Jr. and jumper from Liddel. The Buckeyes would maintain a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
Ohio State ended the game on a 19-2 run over the final 6:25 of regulation and held Morehead State without a field goal for more than seven minutes. The Buckeyes defense forced Morehead to State to make just one of their final 21 field goals.
Ohio State close out its four-game season opening homestand on Saturday when they host Alabama A&M at the Value City Arena at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on BTN.