LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The No. 5 Ohio State men’s basketball team held off No. 6 Kentucky for a 71-65 victory in the CBS Sports Classic Saturday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 11-1 on the year while the Wildcats fall to 8-3.
The Buckeyes take on No. 25 West Virginia in the Cleveland Classic at noon Dec. 29 at Quicken Loans Arena.
D.J. Carton led a balanced Buckeye attack with 13 points while Kaleb Wesson went for 12 points and eight rebounds and Kyle Young totaled 10 points and six boards. Nate Sestina paced Kentucky with 17 points while Tyrese Maxey went for 15 points and six rebounds and Ashton Hagans scored 14 points while dishing out a game-high nine assists.
💪 @OhioStateHoops picked up another win against a ranked opponent as they took down No. 6 Kentucky in Vegas.
Watch the full game highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/120E150pTv
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) December 22, 2019
Both teams shot at least 50 percent from the field in a back-and-forth opening half as neither team held a lead of more than four points. A hookshot from Wesson followed by a pair of free throws from Young gave the Buckeyes a 6-2 advantage at the 16:34 mark but the Wildcats battled back, taking a 19-15 lead on a 3-pointer by Sestina with 10:32 remaining in the half. However, Ohio State regained its advantage at 22-21 on a Carton layup with 8:30 left to play, pushing it to four twice in the final minutes of the half before another Sestina 3-pointer cut the Buckeye lead to 37-36 at the break.
Young led the Buckeyes with 10 points at the half while Wesson added seven points and four boards. Sestina and Hagans each scored 11 for the Wildcats in the opening 20 minutes.
Sestina hit his first three from deep in the second half, moving to 5-for-8 from 3-point range for the game, to keep the Wildcats in it at 45-44 with 14:11 left to play, but the Buckeyes scored the next six points over the next 3:24 to push their lead a game-high seven at 51-44 with 10:47 left to play. However, Kentucky wouldn’t go away, using a 7-2 spurt of their own over 3:25 to trim the Ohio State advantage to 53-51 at the 7:22 mark.
The Buckeyes held a 59-56 lead at the under-4 timeout before Luther Muhammad drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing for a 62-56 advantage with 3:53 left to play. Maxey made the front end of a 1-and-1 the next time down the floor but the Wildcats would get no closer than five the remainder of the way as Ohio State moved to 11-1 on the year.
Ohio State, which shot 50 percent (22-for-44) for the game, held a 33-25 advantage on the boards against the Wildcats. Seven Buckeyes scored at least seven points in the win.