Ohio State holds off Navy 78-68
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) Kam Williams scored 23 points to lead Ohio State past Navy 78-68 in the nightcap of the Veterans Classic on Friday.
Keita Bates-Diop had 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Trevor Thompson added 11 points for the Buckeyes, who shot 27 of 47 (57.4 percent) from the field.
Ohio State (1-0) has all five starters back from last season and that experience was vital against the Midshipmen.
''I was very pleased with how we finished the game out,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. ''Obviously, 17 turnovers is unacceptable in terms of guys trying to catch with one hand, and a little one-handed pass here and there. It's little things we have to get corrected.''
Navy (0-1) tied the game, 35-35, on a dunk by Aaron Briggs with 18:20 left. From there, Ohio State gradually pulled away and a layup by Trevor Thompson, who scored 11 points, provided the first double-digit lead, 47-37, midway through the second half.
''It was the first-game jitters, but in the second half we picked it up,'' Bates-Diop said. ''Obviously, that is how we need to play all year, with that energy.''
The Buckeyes picked up the pace and consecutive dunks by Jae'Sean Tate and Marc Loving boosted the margin to 12 with 10:50 left. The Midshipmen did not threaten the rest of the way.
Loving, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season, finished with 13 points
Hasan Abdullah scored 22 points in his first career start for Navy.
''I feel like my teammates kept my confidence up,'' said Abdullah, who was hampered by a hip injury last season. ''That's really why I played the way I did. I just felt so comfortable on the floor with my teammates. They found me and I made open shots.''
Ohio State: The Buckeyes had to work for its shots and got an overall solid test against a fundamentally sound Navy team. These types of games should get Ohio State battle-tested for the Big Ten, which has five teams in the top 25.
Navy: The Midshipmen are picked to finish eighth in the Patriot League and will have to perform much better from the free-throw line if it wants to prove the pundit wrong. Navy was just 14 of 24 from the line against Ohio State.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes open their home schedule Monday against North Carolina Central before hosting a showdown against Providence two days later.
Navy: The Midshipmen get their second consecutive home game Sunday against Washington College, a DIII school based in nearby Chestertown, Md.