Keita Bates-Diop has been on a tear this season for the Scarlet and Gray, and he kept that up in their latest victory. He scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shots, with nine of his points coming in the second half. In addition to the points, the forward pulled down four rebounds and four assists.
Another Buckeye that sparked the huge win was C.J. Jackson. The junior poured in 13 points, hitting five shots from beyond the arc. While Bates-Diop was the leader in scoring, Jackson led the team with seven assists.
Kam Williams also got into the scoring party against the Bulldogs, too. He put up 17 on the stat sheet—including a nice jumper from the baseline in the second half. For Williams he had a 10-point second half on 4-of-8 shooting. That second half surge propelled him to having a team-high in scoring for the evening.
For the game, OSU shot 50 percent of the field, making 37 of their 74 (yes, 74) shots. From beyond the arc, they were 13-of-35. Not too far behind them were the Bulldogs, who put up 71 shots. However, the visitors made only 32 percent of the attempts. From the land of three, The Citadel made the same amount of shots as Ohio State, but they did it on 43 attempts, not 35.
All those missed shots from the Citadel cost them on the other end, as Ohio State converted those misses into the (very) occasional fast break. On the night, the Scarlet and Grey secured 22 points of the fast break variety, while the Bulldogs had just two.
Even though the Buckeyes ran away with the win, they committed 12 turnovers—four less than their counterparts. Those Scarlet and Grey giveaways cost them 19 points, but they compensated that by cashing the 16 Bulldog turnovers into 24 points.
A big area where the Buckeyes outgained the Bulldogs was in the paint points. Forty of Ohio State’s points came in under the basket, while The Citadel didn’t even score half that; they put 18 points up on the inside.
Since the loss to Clemson on Nov. 29, the Buckeyes have been on a hot streak. They’ve won five games in a row, including a blowout win over Wisconsin on the road, and a come-from-behind win against rival Michigan.
The next time OSU comes back to The Schottenstein Center for a game will be on Dec. 30. Before that, they’ll be in New Orleans on Dec. 23 for a contest against North Carolina.
Here’s how this all went down.
Twelve seconds into the game, Bates-Diop hit a jumper to give the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead. Not long after that, though, Tate turned the ball over—leading to an equalizer by forward Zane Najdawi. Tate would atone for his turnover by making a layup on the next possession.
A coupled missed shots by the Bulldogs (and a couple makes by the Buckeyes) would take us to a 9-4 score at the 17:11 mark of the half. Jackson and Matt Frierson traded three-point shots, and not long after that, the score was 14-9 in favor of the Buckeyes as the first media timeout arrived.
So far in the month of December, OSU was shooting 58 percent from the field. In the first six minutes against The Citadel, they connected on 78 percent of their shots. Behind a Kam Williams layup via half-court pass from Jackson, and a Bates-Diop mid-range basket, the home team was putting on a shooting clinic—holding an 18-9 lead with 12:21 left.
On the other end, The Citadel was having a not-so-good half. Open looks from the corner clanked off the rim, as did three pointers from the wing. At the next media timeout, the Bulldogs were in the midst of a 3:34 scoring slump which included five-straight missed shots.
However, this game was about to get out of hand. The Citadel broke the scoring slump, but hitting a stretch of 1-for-11 from the field, combined with the Buckeyes dunking and making threes, pulled the Scarlet and Gray up 40-20 with 3:00 left in the first half.
Ohio State forced four turnovers in the final few minutes, and hit outlet passes for quick points. Kaiden Rice heaved up a corner three to pull within 19. With 29 seconds left, Andrew Dakich was fouled—sending him to the line for a couple free throws. He would connect on both, and OSU went into the intermission with a 44-23 lead.
Even though the Bucks cooled off from the field, they shot just a touch better than their December average. They hit 19-of-32 from the field, good enough for a 59 percent mark. Their counterparts had a vastly different percentage; Citadel connected on just 23 percent, and carried a 5-for-25 mark from the land of three.
Stat wise, the Bulldogs were carried by Tariq Simmons and Rice. Simmons had seven points, while Rice led the team with nine. Outside of those two, only two other Bulldog members scored points. In comparison, OSU had five players break the 7-point mark in the first 20 minutes. Tate and Bates-Diop both had eight points, while Dakich, Williams and Kaleb Wesson had 7-point totals.
Coming back from the break, both teams missed shots and turned the rock over. After a few minutes, though, order was restored on the floor—as shots began to find the bottom of the net. Bates-Diop, for example, knocked down a pair of three-pointers, helping OSU to a 54-31 lead with 16:01 left.
As it seemed like the Bulldogs were about to complete a quality possession (i.e. a highlight reel worthy series of events) the Buckeyes stepped up to deny them. Quayson Williams stole the ball, and passed it to a streaking Rice. Rice had a prime layup opportunity, however, Wesson came flying in behind him and swatted the ball off the rim—crushing The Citadel’s chance of a highlight reel possession.
The first media timeout of the second half arrived not too long after that, and presented a 56-33 lead for the Scarlet and Gray.
Continuing on, the Buckeyes kept the status quo, and held onto a lead of around 20 points as the clock reached the under-10 minute mark for the game. The Citadel still managed to fight for quality looks, but misses led to quick points on the other end. Compounding the issues in the waning portion of the half was when Quayson Williams left the floor after sustaining an apparent leg injury.
By the time the under-8 minute timeout came, the Bulldogs hit a silver-lining mark. They cranked 33 three-point attempts, which was the most the Buckeyes have allowed all season. Unfortunately for them, they only made 10 of those triples. At the same point, Ohio State had 11 three-point makes on 25 attempts.
Turnovers and missed baskets put the visitors in an even deeper hole. After a timeout with 5:08 left in regulation, Ohio State had a commanding 49-88 lead.
With most of the starters on the bench, the Buckeyes still worked the ball inside with success. Kyle Young put home a basket underneath, and powered his way above the Citadel defense.
Since Bates-Diop and the starters sat down, OSU went on five-shot miss streak. On the bright side: Joey Lane came in and knocked down a couple free throws. (He even launched up a three-pointer, much to the delight of the crowd.) Ohio State may have ended the game on a cold streak, but they still picked up the win.
Ohio State is back in action on Dec. 23 against North Carolina. This game is part of the CBS Sports Classic, and will take place from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Tipoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET with CBS broadcasting the game.