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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 15 Ohio State men’s basketball team held on to defeat Bucknell, 73-71, Saturday afternoon at Value City Arena. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 9-1 on the year while the Bison drop to 4-4.
Kaleb Wesson led all scorers, tallying his second-career double-double with a career-best 22 points and 10 boards while Keyshawn Woods added 13, including nine in the second half, and C.J. Jackson tacked on 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Kimbal Mackenzie and Avi Toomer led Bucknell with 13 points apiece while Jimmy Sotos added 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
ICYMI: No. 15 @OhioStateHoops held off Bucknell for a narrow victory today.
We have the highlights below. pic.twitter.com/Yk4fCeqw9q
— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) December 15, 2018
Behind a hot start from Wesson, Ohio State held a 37-25 lead with 4:04 remaining in the first half. However, Bucknell closed the half on a 15-2 run to take a 40-39 lead in to the break.
Wesson paced the Buckeyes with 13 points, six boards and four assists through the first 20 minutes while Duane Washington Jr. added eight points. Mackenzie, Toomer and Nate Sestina each scored eight for the Bison, who connected on a 9 of 17 3-pointers in the first half.
Bucknell opened the second half with a 9-2 run over the first 2:41 of the stanza, capped by a pair of Sestina free throws, but the Buckeyes answered with a 17-3 spurt over the next 6:04, including eight points from Woods, to take a 58-52 lead with 11:15 remaining. The seesaw battle continued after the Bison cut the lead to 62-58 with 8:00 left to play, Ohio State responded with a 7-0 run to make it a 69-58 game with 4:28 remaining but the Bison would not go away.
Three free throws, a pair of layups and a pair of late three-pointers by Mackenzie and Toomer narrowed the Bucknell deficit to 73-71 with 20 second left. The Bison turned the Buckeyes over on the ensuing in-bounds play but a desperation heave by Bruce Moore missed as Ohio State improved to 9-1 on the year.
After Bucknell was 15-for-29 (51.7%) from the floor in the first half, the Buckeye limited them to 8-for-26 (30.8%) shooting in the second half.
Ohio State hosts Youngstown State at 7 p.m. Tuesday.