Having lost five of their last six, Thad Matta mixed up his starting lineup, inserting swingman Sam Thompson in place of Shannon Scott. Ohio State would receive a spark in the first 20 minutes from a bench player, but it wasn't Thompson who was held scoreless, attempting only one shot.
Amedeo Della Valle knocked down a pair of three-pointers and added an old fashion three-point play to score nine consecutive points as Ohio State cut an 18-10 deficit to 22-19. With Scott scoring seven points and Trey McDonald adding six, Ohio State's bench was vital in keeping the game close heading into half time, combining for 21 points..
Senior point guard Aaron Craft was a non-factor in the first half, held scoreless with an assist and turnover as two fouls regulated him to the bench. Ohio State's leading scorer, LaQuinton Ross, also did not hit a field goal, but was six-for-six at the charity stripe.