Startling start

Adam Jardy
Ohio State's Keyshawn Woods and Youngstown State's Michael Akuchie try to get to a rebound of a missed free throw. [Tyler Schank]

Kaleb Wesson won the opening tip, and No. 15 Ohio State zipped the ball around for its first shot of the game.

The passes were crisp and cutting sharp against the Youngstown State defense as the ball made its way to Andre Wesson in the right corner.

He caught the pass with a foot on the out-of-bounds line, giving the ball to the Penguins. It was a sign of what was in store for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State trailed for the entire first half, finally found some footing early in the second half, and behind a career-high 31 points from Kaleb Wesson eventually pulled away for a 75-56 win against a team ranked No. 322 nationally according to, the second-worst on the schedule.

Join the conversation at and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra

Kaleb Wesson’s three-point play with 17:53 left pulled the Buckeyes (10-1) even at 27-27 for the first time since it was a scoreless game, and his putback 51 seconds later gave Ohio State its first lead and also moved him past 500 career points.

He was just getting started. After scoring a career-high 22 points Saturday in a win over Bucknell, Kaleb Wesson scored 26 in the second half alone to finish with a career-high of 31 points.

One game after older brother Andre Wesson lost two teeth and a third one was chipped, Kaleb Wesson suffered a busted lip that required a stitch during the second half. The sophomore was the only Ohio State player in double figures until Luther Muhammad made a three-pointer with 6:34 left, and the big man was removed to a standing ovation with 2:12 to play.

“I feel like at the beginning of the game we weren’t playing with a purpose,” he said. “I had to get chewed out a couple times. It’s not something I like, but sometimes when you get chewed out it lights something in you.”

The prior four meetings between these teams had been decided by an average of 36.0 points — all Ohio State wins. In those games, the Buckeyes had scored an average of 90.3 points per game, topping out with a 112-67 win on Dec. 1, 1990.

The first half ensured that wouldn’t be possible Tuesday night.

“We lacked more purpose in this game than any game we’ve played all year in the first half,” coach Chris Holtmann said. “We have a really long way to go. I’m certainly concerned. Our first half was awful offensively.”

The Buckeyes missed their first six shots and didn’t score until Kaleb Wesson laid one in with 15:20 to play. By the time they scored again, Youngstown State had built a 14-2 lead 6:08 into the game. The Penguins only scored 11 more points before halftime, but they still led by three because the Buckeyes were 7 of 29 from the field, 1 of 11 on three-point attempts and disjointed throughout.

Beechcroft graduate Jelani Simmons, a freshman for the Penguins (4-9), finished with 10 points and was 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.


Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Basketball podcast: