Dec 7, 2002
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Post Game Press Conference Audio
Ohio State Head Coach Jim O’Brien
Tennessee Tech Head Coach Mike Sutton
By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Terence Dials scored seven of his 13 points during an 18-2 first-half spurt and Ohio State withstood repeated threats down the stretch to hold off Tennessee Tech 71-64 on Saturday.
The Buckeyes (2-2) had lost their last two games, to No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Duke. Tech (4-2) had won four in a row after a season-opening loss at Cincinnati.
After trailing by as many as 16 points in the opening half, the Golden Eagles drew to 59-57 on two free throws by Antwyon Jones with 4:56 left. They never got closer.
Ohio State’s Velimir Radinovic scored on a bucket inside off an assist from Brent Darby before the teams traded foul shots. Sean Connolly, who scored 14 points, hit a runner while cutting through the lane before Tech’s Brent Jolly made a 3-pointer. Emonte Jernigan then scored for the Buckeyes on a drive.
Damien Kinloch, who had 10 rebounds to go with his eight points, hit a layup off a pass from Greg Morgan to draw Tech to 66-63 with 1:39 left.
The Buckeyes put the game away on a Zach Williams basket inside – Darby again on the assist – with Williams, Jernigan and Connolly each hitting free throws in the closing seconds.
Darby had eight assists to go with his 15 points and four rebounds. Williams added 11 points. Dials had 11 rebounds to go with his 13 points.
Cameron Crisp led the Golden Eagles with 14 points, with Jolly scoring 13 and Morgan 12 points.
The teams traded the lead early in the first half before the Buckeyes scored 18 of the next 20 points to turn a 15-14 lead at the 11:04 mark into a 33-16 lead with 2:48 left in the half.
The surge coincided with a defensive switch, with the Buckeyes moving from a man-to-man to a 1-3-1 matchup zone that seemed to confuse Tech.
In addition to Dials’ seven points in the run, Matt Sylvester came off the bench to score five points and add two assists.
The Buckeyes improved to 39-5 in non-conference home games in Jim O’Brien’s six years as head coach.
Ohio State has been limited to a seven-man rotation since losing starting point guard Brandon Fuss-Cheatham and backup forward Shun Jenkins to injuries. Fuss Cheatham (knee surgery) and Jenkins (broken finger) are both expected to return before the new year.