COLUMBUS — Freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh scored a game-high 20 points for the Buckeyes in 17 minutes off the bench leading Ohio State (3-0) to a 65-43 win over Eastern Illinois (0-4).
Junior center Zed Key was the only other Buckeye in double figures with 10 points and 14 rebounds on what was an off night shooting for almost everybody.
Ohio State also turned the ball over 17 times, including a team-high five by Justice Sueing.
Key got the Buckeyes’ scoring started with a three-pointer less than one minute into the game, but they had to wait until the 16:49 mark to get their next points.
Ohio State wasn’t alone in their offensive struggles, as Eastern Illinois didn’t score their first points until a layup by Kinyon Hodges at the 14:08 mark of the first half.
Sensabaugh got his first points with a three-pointer with 12:01 remaining in the half to give Ohio State an 11-5 lead. He added another jumper less than a minute later to climb the lead to eight points. Sensabaugh then dropped in another three shortly after that to give him his eighth point in basically a two-minute stretch.
Eastern Illinois guard Yaakema Rose, Jr. then went on an 8-0 run that featured a pair of threes, dropping the OSU lead to 21-13 with 7:32 left in the half. The Panthers actually cut the lead to three points with two minutes left in the half before Sensabaugh added another three to make it 26-20 at the half.
The Panthers got the lead down to three points early in the second half, but Ohio State responded with a 15-2 run that saw the scoring come from all directions. The Buckeyes reached their first 20-point lead following a Tanner Holden free throw making it 50-30 with 8:27 left in the game.
Following a free throw by forward Sincere Malone, freshman guard Roddy Gayle added five quick points to give OSU a 55-31 with under seven minutes to play. Eastern Illinois never got it closer than 18 points after that.
Ohio State held the Panthers to 16-of-64 shooting from the field (.250) and 4-of-20 from three-point range.
- As long as Chris Holtmann continues to put Brice Sensabaugh in a lineup with guys who aren’t aggressive shooters yet like Ice Likekele and Tanner Holden, Sensabaugh will gladly be the designated shooter whenever necessary. His confidence is already elite. Sensabaugh missed a three early in the first half and OSU got the offensive rebound and he got the ball back at the same spot and threw up another three, making it. He is close to being a point-a-minute player so far this year for the Buckeyes, scoring 51 points in 53 minutes of play.
- It’s okay for Justice Sueing to be a perimeter player in games like this, but in Maui and in Big Ten play and bigger non-conference games, he needs to remember how effective he is at getting the ball into the paint. Sueing has a solid frame and doesn’t get pushed from his spot while dribbling. He’s not the tallest guy but he has good touch around the rim and can finish with either hand. Chris Holtmann said a week or two ago that Sueing still has some rust he needed to shake off. This was one of those games where that looked to be the case.
- With 15:51 left in the game, Ohio State was being outscored 8-6 in the paint. To that point, Zed Key had attempted three three-pointers and just two two-pointers. Twenty-one of OSU’s 36 shots were from beyond the three-point arc. But they were hitting the same .333 from behind and in front of the line. Mathematically, if you’re going to miss two-thirds of your shots anyway, it’s better to take more threes than twos, but following a halftime refocusing on getting to the basket, Ohio State ended up outscoring EIU 24-20 in the paint.
- This continues to be a fun team to watch, provided you correctly calibrate your expectations. There is talent all over the place, and a different player can lead this team from night to night. That can be a scary proposition for a head coach, but it makes for the kind of mystery that is usually interesting to watch. Chris Holtmann would like to see a couple of scorers emerge that will always be counted on. It’s way too early to say he’s found that in Brice Sensabaugh, but he’s at least found somebody willing to give it a shot — both figuratively and literally.