Keita Bates-Diop scored 17 points in only 18 minutes, Kam Williams had 17 off the bench and Ohio State blew past the visiting Citadel, 94-65, on Tuesday night at Value City Arena.
For a second straight game, the Buckeyes (10-3) never trailed as the Citadel (5-7) stuck to its fast-paced offensive script but struggled to find the bottom of the net. Bates-Diop scored eight of Ohio State’s first 19 points but didn’t score for the rest of the first half, playing only 11 minutes as Ohio State pulled ahead to a 44-23 halftime lead. At the break, six Ohio State players had scored between five and eight points.
The Buckeyes got things going midway during the half after the Citadel pulled within four at 22-15 when Jae’Sean Tate scored with 8:49 to play. It started what would become a 15-0 run during which they scored on five straight possessions at one point.
The highlight was a monstrous, right-handed dunk from Tate as he swooped in from the right wing that got the crowd – which included former guard JaQuan Lyle, now at New Mexico but back in town for the holidays – on its feet.
From there, the only thing that could hold Ohio State back was itself. Both teams combined to turn the ball over seven times in the first five minutes of the second half, but the Buckeyes still increased their lead to 31 points on back-to-back C.J. Jackson three-pointers. The Bulldogs entered the game allowing Division I opponents to score an average of 97.6 points per game, and if not for a slew of missed threes late by a lineup largely comprised of walk-ons, the Buckeyes would’ve been the fourth to score at least 100 points on the Bulldogs.
Every recruited scholarship player on Ohio State’s roster had at least one field goal and one rebound. The Buckeyes had a season-high 27 assists, and the Bulldogs finished with a season-low point total.
The Citadel, ranked No. 316 nationally by KenPom.com, is the lowest-rated team on Ohio State’s schedule. Now up next is one of the highest: a date Saturday in New Orleans against North Carolina as part of the CBSSports Classic. The Tar Heels are ranked No. 5 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 7 in KenPom.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann made a change to his starting lineup, swapping out fifth-year senior Williams for freshman Musa Jallow. The lineup hadn’t played together in three straight games but had started four straight earlier this season.
After suffering a high-ankle sprain in the fourth game of the season, sophomore center Micah Potter played 19 minutes, his most since suffering the injury.
Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Basketball podcast: