December 19, 2020

Buckeyes Pull Away to Top UCLA in Cleveland, 77-70

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s basketball team pulled away late in the second half and earned a 77-70 victory over UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland. The Buckeyes improved to 6-1 overall while UCLA is now 5-2.

The win for Ohio State was keyed by the play of a pair of veterans – Duane Washington Jr., who had a team-high 14 points, and CJ Walker, who had 10 points and four assists – combined with timely contributions from a pair of freshmen – Zed Key and Eugene Brown III. Key scored 11 points in his 22 minutes and added six rebounds while playing a key stretch in the second half after forward E.J. Liddell fouled out. Brown, meanwhile, scored nine points and his all three of his three-point attempts. With the game tied at 63-all, he put Ohio State ahead for good at the 5:34 mark of the second half. On the next possession, after UCLA cut the lead to one at 66-65, he hit another one to give the Buckeyes a 69-65 lead.

 

The Buckeyes’ defense held UCLA to just 33 percent shooting in the second half and made just one of its last seven from the floor. Ohio State was able to salt the game away from the free throw line – the Buckeyes are 15 of 21 from the stripe in the second half and 19 of 26 for the game.

The teams went back and forth in the first half with five ties and four lead changes. Late in the first half, the Buckeyes held UCLA to no field goals over the final 2:34 and was able to take a 39-38 lead at the break thanks to a jumper by Musa Jallow with 34 seconds remaining.

Jallow and Liddell led Ohio State with seven points apiece in the first half. Liddell, making his return after a two-game absence due to non-COVID illness, made three of his seven field goal attempts while Jallow was 3 of 4 from the floor and added two rebounds and two assists. The Buckeyes shot 56 percent from the floor and made five three-point field goals.

Forward Seth Towns, a Columbus native who graduated from Harvard last spring, made his Ohio State debut when he checked into the game at the with 2:47 remaining in the first half. Towns was the 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year at Harvard when he averaged nearly 16.0 points per game, 5.7 rebounds and shot 42 percent from the field.

The Buckeyes return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 23 when they host No. 19 Rutgers at the Value City Arena. Tip-off is slated for 4:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on BTN.