Sophomore guard Roddy Gayle scored a game-high 19 points and was one of four double-figure scorers for Ohio State (9-2) in their 67-60 win over UCLA (5-3) in the CBS Sports Classic in Atlanta, Georgia.
It took over 59 minutes for the Buckeyes to hit their first three-pointer in this game, but when forward Jamison Battle’s triple fell with 46 seconds remaining in the game, it gave Ohio State a 62-56 lead, and just enough insurance to give them the win.
The Buckeyes shot 15-of-27 (55.6%) from the field in the second half, allowing them to outscore the Bruins 45-37 over the game’s final 20 minutes. Ohio State trailed 23-22 at the half.
Gayle was 6-of-11 from the field on the day. He also went 7-of-8 from the free throw line and pulled down six rebounds. Point guard Bruce Thornton scored 13 points, while also contributing seven rebounds and four assists. Battle scored 14 points, and center Felix Okpara added 10 points before fouling out late in the contest.
UCLA shot 24-of-63 (38.1%) from the field for the game.
The Buckeyes will be back on the court Thursday when they host New Orleans at Value City Arena.
For the bulk of this game, every three-point attempt seemed like Groundhog Day. Shot went up. Shot missed. Shot went up. Shot missed. Rinse, wash, repeat. Ohio State and UCLA combined to hit just two of their 24 three-point attempts on Saturday. The Bruins missed eight of their nine attempts, and the Buckeyes missed 14 of their 15 attempts. It wasn’t until the 12:25 mark of the second half that the game finally had its first three-pointer. It came from UCLA guard Will McClendon, and it gave the Bruins a 36-33 lead. Six different Buckeyes missed at least one three-point attempt before Jamison Battle made his first on his fifth attempt with under one minute remaining.
Georgia On His Mind
Ohio State sophomore point guard Bruce Thornton has been one of the best players in the Big Ten this season, but his shooting touch didn’t quite travel with him to Atlanta for this game, which was a shame for the Georgia native. Thornton is from Fairburn, Georgia, which is about 20 miles southwest of Atlanta. Thornton came into this game averaging 18.5 points per game, while shooting 46.9% from the field and 41.8% from three-point range. Thornton only scored 13 points, doing so on 4-of-15 shooting. He missed all five of his three-point attempts, but he still produced rebounds (7) and assists (4), and only turned the ball over twice. Even though the shots weren’t falling, it was definitely a happy homecoming for the second-year star.
Bury The Lead
The first half of this game was low-scoring and tight throughout. The Bruins led 23-22 at the half, and neither team had more than a 4-point lead until a dunk from Ohio State center Felix Okpara gave the Buckeyes a 57-51 lead with 2:47 left in the game. The two teams traded the lead back and forth in the second half until Bruce Thornton hit a jumper to give OSU a 48-47 lead with just under eight minutes remaining. From that point on, the Buckeyes never relinquished the lead. It was never an overly comfortable lead, and after giving up an 18-point lead in a loss to Penn State their last time out, head coach Chris Holtmann had to be happy with how his team handled a lead in this one. The moments were never too big, and the minutes never too fleeting.
The Box Score
[Roddy Gayle photo courtesy of the Ohio State Dept of Athletics/Twitter.]