With his Ohio State team facing a week away from game action because of final exams, coach Chris Holtmann was worried about lighting a fire under the Buckeyes for a game Saturday night.

It turned out that he had little to worry about. The same just couldn’t be said for the emergency systems at Value City Arena. After a malfunctioning exhaust fan at a concession stand set off alarms and forced a mid-game evacuation of the arena, the Buckeyes maintained their lead and went on to defeat Appalachian State 80-67 for their fourth straight win.

“Just your typical college basketball game here,” Holtmann deadpanned. “Nothing odd that happened at all.”

Against a Mountaineers team that was among the nation’s top 10 in rebounds, free-throw attempts and three-pointers made, the Buckeyes (9-3) never trailed and led 48-33 with a Ronshad Shabazz free throw pending at the 17:47 mark of the second half. Then, what sounded like an air raid siren began to blare from the speakers followed by a voice declaring an emergency and directing the 12,616 fans to evacuate.

What followed was a calm exodus until, roughly eight minutes later, the all-clear was given and fans were allowed to return to a nearly empty arena. The delay lasted about 20 minutes.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” Ohio State freshman center Kaleb Wesson said. “We were in shock. We were in there riding bikes and getting on (foam) rollers and stuff, trying to stay warm.”

Appalachian State (5-7) scored the first six points after the delay to pull within nine points at 48-39, but a Keita Bates-Diop layup with 16:04 to play pushed Ohio State’s lead back to 11 points. It climbed as high as 21 when Kam Williams converted a three-point play with 7:35 remaining to make it 74-53, but the Mountaineers closed with a 14-6 run.

During that stretch, the Buckeyes went 2 of 8 from the field, turned the ball over four times and committed seven fouls.

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“We fouled way too much late in the game,” Holtmann said. “We have to do a better job of being more disciplined. We’ve got an aggressive group. I really believe this: If our identity is not making it hard for teams to score on us, we’re going to be in trouble.”

The Buckeyes closed the first half with a bit of a flourish, scoring the final six points while also forcing three Mountaineers turnovers on their final four possessions. Bates-Diop punctuated the sequence, fully extending his body on a dive near midcourt to pop the ball loose from Hunter Seacat and create a fast-break opportunity that, after an Andrew Dakich spin move, led to a Jae’Sean Tate dunk.

Ohio State led 40-27 at halftime, tied for the fewest points scored by Appalachian State in a half this season and marking its lowest first-half total.

The teams matched each other with 40 second-half points, but Appalachian State’s final total tied for its lowest of the season. The Mountaineers were 3 for 19 on three-point attempts.

“They completely took us out of how we play,” coach Jim Fox said. “I thought they took us apart offensively and defensively.”

The game marked the return of Micah Potter, who missed four of the last seven games and totaled 13 minutes of playing time while recovering from a high ankle sprain, and Kyle Young, who missed the William & Mary game because of an ankle sprain. Potter played just one minute, while Young had two points and one rebound in 13 minutes.

Delaware graduate Griffin Kinney, a senior forward for the Mountaineers, scored 14 points in a game Fox said was largely scheduled for his benefit.