Ohio State Basketball: Buckeyes’ Defense Too Much in 66-38 W

Behind Jaquan Lyle’s 17 points and Jae’Sean Tate’s double-double, the Ohio State Buckeyes overwhelmed Western Carolina in route to a 28-point rout on Monday night in the Schottenstein Center.

Kam Williams, filling in for the injured Keita Bates-Diop, added 13 points in his first start of the season. Bates-Diop injured his ankle last Thursday in the win over Providence, but is out of the walking boot and is considered day-to-day.

The Buckeyes used an early 9-0 run to build an 11-4 lead in the early going and never looked back. The Catamounts were held to just 18 points in the first half, and the Buckeyes owned a 14-point lead heading into the locker room.

A 17-4 run by the Buckeyes opened the lead up even further to start the second half.

Ohio State did not have a particularly solid offensive effort, shooting a decent 41 percent from the

field, but turning the ball over 14 times.

The majority of their damage on the offensive end came in the paint, where they owned a 36-10 scoring advantage, while also grabbing 11 more rebounds than Western Carolina.

With the offensive still trying to find some consistency, Thad Matta has to be encouraged by the effort his defense put out, albeit against an overmatched opponent.

Ohio State forced Western Carolina into 20 turnovers on the night, while holding the Catamounts to just 27 percent.

Lyle led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, the second straight game in which he has started fast. While the Buckeyes still need to find their identity on offense, having consistent play from their point guard is a solid place to start.

Ohio State is 4-0 on the early season after tonight’s win, the first of three games in a stretch of five days. They will take on Jackson State on Wednesday, and Marshall will be in Columbus on Friday.

The competition will ramp up after that when the Buckeyes travel to Charlottesville next Wednesday to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in the annual Big Ten/ACC challenge. Virginia currently is ranked seventh in the polls.

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