When multiple players from both teams converged on the ball after the opening tip, the only option was to re-do the jump ball.
It was the only do-over Ohio State would permit Villanova.
The 16th-ranked Buckeyes controlled the No. 10 Wildcats from re-tip to final buzzer, blowing past the visitors with a stunning 76-51 win Wednesday night at Value City Arena.
“Probably two or three times have I ever been a part of a game as a head coach where almost everything kind of goes your way,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “That’s the reality. Very rarely do you have games like that. The players made plays, but we were in a really good rhythm.”
In front of a capacity student section, the Buckeyes (3-0) won their first November home game against a top-10 opponent and made sure Villanova (1-1) wouldn’t start a season 2-0 for the first time since 2004-05. And they did it in style.
After enduring extended scoreless droughts to open their first two games, the Buckeyes solved their woes early and often against the Wildcats. Duane Washington sunk a corner three-pointer 23 seconds into the game, added another on the next possession, and those were followed by a CJ Walker three-pointer that forced Villanova coach Jay Wright to call a timeout only 87 seconds into the game and trailing 9-0.
It didn’t accomplish much. The Wildcats got on the board with a three-pointer from freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, but Walker would respond with a conventional three-point play to start a 10-0 Ohio State run capped by an E.J. Liddell drive and finish at 15:41 that gave Ohio State a shocking 19-3 lead. Of the first 17 points, Washington had 11 of them.
Wright called it basic defensive concepts that his team, which had played just one game eight days ago, simply broke down on. The trigger-happy Washington was all too happy to take advantage.
“I wouldn’t say I anticipated those threes being wide-open,” Washington said. “I was taking what the defense was giving me, trusting my teammates to find me in the right spots and just trusting my shot and knocking them down.”
Ohio State led by as many as 27 during the first half and 30 during the game.
D.J. Carton provided some of the highlights. His left-handed slam to make it 60-32 got the crowd roaring, and it only got louder when he crossed over his defender and pulled up for a step-back jumper at the foul line to make it 68-41.
“I didn’t really know how to react from that,” he said of his dunk, which Holtmann said was a play called by assistant coach Ryan Pedon. So, too, was an alley-oop dunk to Kyle Young to open the second-half scoring after the Wildcats had closed on a 9-0 run during the final 1:49 of the first half to pull within 40-22.
Washington led five Buckeyes players in double figures with 14 points. Kaleb Wesson had his eighth career double-double and second in as many games with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and he added a career-high four blocks while playing 34:43 without committing a foul.