There were stretches of Sunday afternoon’s game against Radford in which Ohio State played well. But after an 82-72 win that saw the visiting Highlanders open the game on a 7-2 surge and close it with a 13-1 run, the good moments weren’t the ones on coach Chris Holtmann’s mind. 

“I didn’t particularly care for the start,” he said. “Really the (whole) first half, but certainly the bulk of the first half. Now those last four minutes (of the game), that will drive a coach crazy.” 

Although the Buckeyes (2-0) won for the second time in three days, Radford (1-1) kept them uncomfortable throughout and frustrated them late. Ohio State took control after a 15-10 lead had been cut to 15-14 and Holtmann brought starting point guard C.J. Jackson back in for Andrew Dakich, and Keita Bates-Diop in for Kaleb Wesson, giving the Buckeyes a “small” lineup without a true center. 

It worked. Ohio State scored on six straight possessions and put together a 16-2 run that pushed its lead to 31-16 with 6:53 to play in the half. Jackson scored half of the points; he started the run with a three-pointer, and added another that made it 29-16. His jumper finished off the surge.

The run helped atone for a rough start from the junior, who committed four turnovers during the first seven minutes of the game before spending some time on the bench.

“At the beginning, my mind was sped up a little bit,” Jackson said. “I was trying to make the home-run play, and once (Holtmann) pulled me to the side, he told me to hit singles. That’s what I tried to do once I came back in.” 

The Buckeyes didn’t allow Radford a field goal in the second half until the 13:17 mark. By then the OSU lead had grown to 61-35 after a 10-0 run during which, again, Jackson scored half the points.

The 26-point lead was the high-water mark. Radford would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way, but the Buckeyes seldom looked comfortable, particularly in the closing minutes. For that, they had 15 turnovers — including seven from Jackson and four from Jae’Sean Tate — partially to blame. 

Both players, though, played key parts in keeping Ohio State on top. Jackson scored a career-high 19 points and Tate had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Keita Bates-Diop again took top billing with 22 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. 

Holtmann used the same starting lineup that he used in Friday's opener against Robert Morris — Jackson, Kam Williams, Tate, Bates-Diop and Micah Potter — but said after the game he might have substituted too liberally and to his team’s detriment. 

“We’ll learn from this,” he said. “I’m trying to get a feel for who I can play right now, who I can trust, and the only way I can do that is to see these guys in action and see what their preparation is from game to game. We’re not super deep as it is, but I may need to look at the rotation a little bit.”