Coming off of a signature win against No. 7 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Wednesday night, the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0, 1-0) returned home Saturday afternoon to open up Big Ten play against the Penn State Nittany Lions (7-2, 0-1).
The Buckeyes, who opened the game as 7-point favorites, took awhile to pull away from the Nittany Lions, but once the floodgates opened, it got ugly quick. Kaleb and Andre Wesson combined for 43 points, including 28 from Kaleb, en route to Ohio State’s ninth win of the season absolutely destroying the upstart Nittany Lions by the score of 106-74.
OSU head coach Chris Holtmann stuck with the same starting lineup that he’s been using since Andre Wesson suffered his eye injury, going with CJ Walker at point guard, Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr. at the off-guard spots, and Kyle Young/Kaleb Wesson as the forwards.
After tallying only 10 points in the victory over North Carolina, Kaleb Wesson made his presence known right from the tip in this one, scoring seven of the Buckeyes’ first nine points, including this three-pointer to open the scoring:
The best defensive team in the Big Ten continued their tough play early on, consistently preventing the Nittany Lions from getting to the paint. Penn State got four early points from Lamar Stevens, but overall shot just 4-14 from the floor and trailed the Buckeyes 13-9 at the under-12 media timeout.
A 9-0 run extended the Buckeyes’ lead to 20-9, but the run ended when Stevens sank a three-pointer to cut the lead back to eight. At the 8:37 mark, Penn State was only shooting 20 percent from beyond the arc (it’s pretty tough to score when you can’t make buckets either inside or outside).
One of the reasons Penn State was unable to get position inside early was Young, who gave Penn State fits on both ends of the floor. Young’s 5 points and 3 rebounds by the under-eight timeout won’t jump out at anyone, but he routinely does the little things that need to be done for good teams to become great teams.
And on cue, Kyle has the nice little baby hook. pic.twitter.com/ZKes8BZ0Q9— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 7, 2019
Ohio State, who at one point led by 15, went into halftime up 11. After really manhandling Penn State for the first 12 minutes or so, the Buckeyes got away from their game towards the end of the half with some costly turnovers and ill-advised three-pointers. Regardless, the BasketBucks went into the break up double-digits, led by the Wesson brothers’ combined 20 points.
Ohio State was marvelous limiting the damage Penn State could do in the paint, especially against Mike Watkins, who came into this game averaging 11.3 points and 10 rebounds per game. He had 2 points and 0 rebounds at the break.
The Buckeyes opened the second half by hitting their first two shots, including a big slam from Kaleb Wesson that came at the end of a scramble for a long rebound. Wesson was then issued a Class-B technical foul for hanging on the rim too long.
Kaleb Wesson got a technical for hanging on the rim for this. pic.twitter.com/F76pZRWD0y— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 7, 2019
A big development came at the 13:26 mark of the second half when Stevens, Penn State’s leading scorer and the second leading scorer in the Big Ten, was called for a foul when he made contact with Walker on a shot attempt. That was his fourth foul.
Upset, Stevens walked towards the PSU bench, dribbling the ball very hard and then left the ball near mid-court. His antics earned him a technical foul, which fouled him out of the game with over 13 minutes left in the game.
Wow, Penn State's Lamar Stevens gets his fourth personal and then a technical to foul out.— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 7, 2019
Look, that's good for the Buckeyes, but that's a horrible decision by the ref. He dribbled the ball hard after the play a few times and got T-ed up. #RefShow
Penn State responded to Stevens’ disqualification immediately, hitting their next two shots and cutting the Ohio State lead to eight, forcing Chris Holtmann to call a timeout at the 12:44 mark of the second half.
However, on the first play out of the emergency timeout, Washington splashed a corner triple to extend the lead back to 11, 66-55.
Duane Washington Jr. is just so smooth. His triple gets the Buckeyes back up by 11. pic.twitter.com/wFHl4FIh5x— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 7, 2019
At this point, the wheels really began to fall off the bus for the Nittany Lions. Walker repeatedly was able to drive and kick to different Buckeyes for open three-pointers, and repeatedly the Buckeyes sank them.
In a three minute span, Kaleb Wesson connected thrice from beyond the arc, and Andre Wesson hit one as well. By the under-8 timeout, the Buckeyes had extended their lead to 21, and for the first time all afternoon, Holtmann could breathe. Kaleb Wesson had set a career high with four three-pointers, and the Buckeyes as a team were shooting 55 percent from three.
You get a 3! You get a 3! You get a 3! pic.twitter.com/JsumhWdYcv— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 7, 2019
By the time the buzzer sounded and the dogs were called off, Ohio State had thoroughly punished Penn State to the tune of a 106-74 win. Kaleb Wesson was three points shy of his career-high, but still secured his third double-double of the season with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Andre Wesson chipped in 15 points and 5 rebounds, while both Muhammad and Washington had 14. Young finished with nine points, but this emphatic slam should have really counted for more than two:
Ninety nine points, and alley oop is 2 pic.twitter.com/EqGXOdkLJH— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 7, 2019
Ohio State will get a week off before their next game, which will come next Sunday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. ET against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis. The game will be broadcast on BTN as the Buckeyes will look to move to 2-0 in Big Ten play.