Despite the disappointment on the football field on Saturday, the Ohio State men’s basketball team (5-1) won its second game in as many nights to win the Emerald Coast Classic in Detin, Florida by beating the Santa Clara Broncos (6-1) 86-56.
OSU defeated No. 17 Alabama Crimson Tide (5-1) 92-81 on Friday night in the semifinals to solidify a berth in the championship game. Santa Clara beat Oregon (4-2) 88-82 to set up the ECC Championship matchup against the Buckeyes. In the third-place game earlier on Saturday, Alabama defeated Oregon 99-91.
Carlos Marshall led the Broncos into this matchup, averaging 16.7 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game. Adama Bal led the Broncos in scoring in the win over Oregon, recording 25 points. He is averaging 14.2 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game.
For the Buckeyes, the star sophomore backcourt led them into this one. Bruce Thornton entered the contest averaging 18.0 points per game after his 29-point breakout against Alabama. Roddy Gayle entered this one averaging 16.4 points per game after his career-high 23-point performance against the Crimson Tide.
As we got underway against Santa Clara, the Buckeyes struck first, as they picked up where they left off last game and knocked down three three-pointers early, two from Jamison Battle and one from Roddy Gayle, to take an early 11-4 lead.
Dale Bonner added another three-pointer to help the Buckeyes go up 14-6. After a few more stops and baskets for the Buckeyes, they took a 13-point lead at 24-11.
Santa Clara was able to weather the early storm and pull back within six to make the score 28-22. The Buckeyes and Broncos would trade baskets back and forth to end the first half, and the Buckeyes took a 34-26 lead into the locker room.
Jamison Battle led the Buckeyes with 16 points. Bruce Thornton added six points, five assists, and three steals in the opening half.
Santa Clara was led by Adama Bal in the first half with seven points, but he was 3-for-11 from the field.
Ohio State started the second half off with a bang going on an 8-0 run and extended the lead to 42-28, the largest of the game thus far. After two Felx Okpara dunks and two Gayle free-throws, the Buckeyes extended the lead to 48-31 at the under-16 timeout.
A three-pointer from Bruce Thornton with just under 12 minutes left gave the Buckeyes a 22-point lead at 55-33. The Broncos really struggled to score the ball coming out of the half, recording just nine points in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
Santa Clara continued to attempt to mount a comeback but struggled to record enough stops on defense, including back-to-back turnovers on travels on offensive possessions.
Dale Bonner went on his own 5-0 run, recording a three-pointer, a steal, and a layup to balloon the score to 67-44 with six minutes left in the game.
Ohio State continued to score on the offensive end and get stops on the defensive end, and they would go on to win 86-56.
Jamison Battle led the way for Ohio State, recording 21 points on 5-for-10 shooting from three-point range. Bruce Thornton added 13 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and three steals.
Adama Bal recorded 13 points to lead the Broncos.
Here are some key moments from the game:
A hot start from deep
The Buckeyes shot a scorching 10-for-18 from the three-point line and beat Alabama at its own strength on Friday. The Buckeyes continued this streaky shooting on Saturday night, knocking down four of their first five shots from deep and shooting 6-for-14 from three-point range in the first half
Gayle gets in early foul trouble
Sophomore guard Roddy Gayle only struggled with foul trouble in the first half, picking up two fouls early and did not return all for the remainder of the half. Gayle recorded a career-high 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting in Friday’s win over Alabama.
Battle starts to heat up
Minnesota transfer Jamison Battle was brought in to be one of the top-scoring options for Ohio State this season, and so far, he has been decent but not great in that regard. In this contest, Battle averaged just over 10 points a game. However, in this one, he recorded 12 of Ohio State’s first 20 points and 16 first-half points to find his groove early on. It was important because Thornton and Gayle did not score much in the first half, and battle was the reason the Buckeyes held the lead going into the second half.
Thornton brings the defense
Bruce Thornton is becoming a jack of all trades for the Buckeyes, recording a career-high 29 points against Alabama to lead the Buckeyes to a big win on Friday. Thornton was only 1-for-5 from the field in the first half for the Buckeyes against Santa Clara, but he recorded three steals that led to six points for the Buckeyes.
Another halftime lead
It is early in the season, but the Buckeyes are 4-0 when leading games at the half and 0-1 when trailing at the half. The lone deficit was 34-33 against Texas A&M.
The transfers impress
Evan Mahaffey, Dale Bonner, and Jamison Battle were all brought into the program this season for different reasons. In this game, they all showed what those reasons were. Battle showed his scoring prowess, recording 21 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Dale Bonner made some big shots and played great defense and Evan Mahaffey showed how he can lockdown in man-to-man defense. These three will all be key to the Buckeyes success moving forward.