COLUMBUS — Junior center Zed Key had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds by the 7-minute mark of the first half of an 82-56 win over Charleston Southern for Ohio State (2-0) Thursday night in Columbus.
Key scored a game-high 17 points on the night on 8-of-10 shooting and also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. He was one of four Buckeyes in double figures. Freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh scored 14 points, guard Sean McNeil added 13, and forward Justice Sueing dropped in 11 points in 21 minutes.
Charleston Southern actually got the first basket of the night, but that just made the Buckeyes angry. Following the 2-0 start, Ohio State went on an 11-0 run thanks to three baskets from Key, a three from McNeil, and layup by Sueing.
More dunks and layups from Key, as well as another three by McNeil, helped expand an ever-growing OSU lead. The Buckeyes hit their first 20-point lead following a Roddy Gayle layup at the nine-minute mark of the first half. Gayle scored nine points on the night on 3-of-5 shooting.
Sensabaugh then got started, scoring eight points over a three-minute span. A jumper at the 5:37 mark gave Ohio State a 37-11 lead. The Buckeyes led 46-22 at the half.
Ohio State stretched the lead to 30 points at 57-27 with a McNeil layup with 15:59 left in the game. Sensabaugh made it 32 points with another jumper. He then added a dunk at the 11:18 mark, giving him 14 points in 14 minutes of play. It was his 31st point in 32 minutes of play this season.
Ohio State shot just 4-of-15 (.267) from three-point range on the night, but were 31-of-60 (.517) from the field overall. The Buckeyes out-rebounded Charleston Southern 47-28, with 14 of those rebounds being on the offensive end.
Ohio State did turn the ball over 14 times to just nine for the Buccaneers.
- Wright State transfer wing Tanner Holden scored just two points and was 0-for-2 from the field in 19 minutes of play. Chris Holtmann said before the season that Holden may have some moments like this as he finds his way at this level of play. He was passive in this game, which becomes especially noticeable when he’s on the court with freshman scorer Brice Sensabaugh who has yet to find a shot he isn’t absolutely positive he can hit. Holden must eventually become more aggressive because the Buckeyes need veterans that can score consistently.
- There are so many different scorers on this team. I know Holtmann said they don’t have have two guys that they can rely on each night like late last year with EJ Liddell and Malaki Branham, but there’s no one guy who can be quiet and it kills the offense.
- But they will need more scoring if they continue to be as lax defensively as they were in the second half of this one. The Buckeyes were consistently late in all aspects of the defense, which is one reason why Ohio State only outscored Charleston Southern 36-34 over the game’s final 20 minutes. They also weren’t fantastic offensively in the second half, turning the ball over nine times.
- There are a lot of similarities between former Buckeye Malaki Branham and freshman guard Roddy Gayle. Gayle is comfortable shooting from range, and also has no problem taking it to the basket. He continues to show good vision with the pass, though he did have a pair of turnovers in his 20 minutes of action. Gayle also has defensive versatility and the kind of pride in his game that makes him want to limit scoring from his man.
- Chris Holtmann said before the season that sometimes Brice Sensabaugh needs to let the game come to him, but I think Holtmann should just stay out of this (joking)(sort of) and let Sensabaugh really explore the room. We saw him in the post, in the flow of the offense, and he also had a step-back three. For a guy who looked a little like EJ Liddell in his high school highlights, Sensabaugh is already way ahead of Liddell’s perimeter game.
- This is a fun team to watch. It was good to see freshman point guard Bruce Thornton be a little aggressive later in the game and get some baskets for himself. There is a lot to like here because it’s an enjoyable brand of basketball to watch, but there are going to be some lulls and some difficulties on the boards that might lead to some long nights this season.
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