It's safe to say it won't be visions of sugarplums dancing through Thad Matta's head this Christmas. In its final nonconference tune-up before the start of Big Ten play, Ohio State weathered damaging technical fouls from two of its stalwarts against upset-minded North Carolina Asheville before JaQuan Lyle scored eight straight points for the Buckeyes during the final three minutes to fend off the Bulldogs 79-77 at Value City Arena. Lyle's final basket, a driving layup that rolled off the glass thanks to some wicked spin on the ball from his right hand, came with 47.9 seconds left and made it a two-possession game.

It's safe to say it won't be visions of sugarplums dancing through Thad Matta's head this Christmas.

In its final nonconference tune-up before the start of Big Ten play, Ohio State weathered damaging technical fouls from two of its stalwarts against upset-minded North Carolina Asheville before JaQuan Lyle scored eight straight points for the Buckeyes during the final three minutes to fend off the Bulldogs 79-77 at Value City Arena.

Lyle's final basket, a driving layup that rolled off the glass thanks to some wicked spin on the ball from his right hand, came with 47.9 seconds left and made it a two-possession game.

UNC Asheville trailed by 11 points four minutes into the second half and by 10 with 8:03 to play but fought its way back both times. With Ohio State ahead 62-57, senior Marc Loving committed the first technical foul after he was whistled for traveling. MaCio Teague hit two free throws at the other end, and Upper Arlington product Kevin Vannetta canned a jumper for a four-point possession to make it a one-point game.

Trevor Thompson hit two free throws at the other end to push the lead back to three points, but a Vannetta three tied it up. Lyle then hit the front end of two free throws before Thompson was called for a foul and, immediately afterward, swatted the ball away. He was assessed a foul and a technical foul, giving him five with 4:25 to play. Teague then hit both free throws and Will Weeks hit the first of two to give the Bulldogs a 67-65 lead with 4:25 to play and setting up a taut finish.

Jae'Sean Tate and Lyle each had 17 points to lead the Buckeyes.

Playing without starting center Micah Potter, who suffered a sprained left ankle on the opening tip Tuesday against Youngstown State, the Buckeyes shot 53.6 percent from the floor in the first half but only took a 36-33 lead into the locker room.

Twice Ohio State pushed its lead to seven points in the first half, only to have the Bulldogs immediately answer with a three-pointer each time. The first one came after UNC Asheville grabbed rebounds following two three-point misses before finally connecting as the Buckeyes were forced to play a man down while Kam Williams limped with what looked to be a right knee injury.

Ohio State called timeout after the basket, and Williams hobbled to the bench. He left for the locker room under his own power but returned to the court to start the second half.

Potter watched the game from the bench in sweatpants. On the official pregame radio show, Matta said Potter might have played if the game had been Friday instead of Thursday.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy