A sloppy start was met with a resilient finish, as the Ohio State men’s basketball team walked away from its preseason exhibition against Walsh University with a 93-63 victory.
Playing six days in advance of its season-opener against Morgan State, the Buckeyes found themselves trailing the undermanned Cavaliers by a score of 7-6 more than four minutes into the first half. Ohio State overcame its sluggish start, putting together a 37-11 run before taking an 49-26 lead into halftime.
From there, the Buckeyes cruised, pushing their lead to 30 points as forward LaQuinton Ross and guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. led all scorers with 15 points a piece.
Ross and Smith were joined in the Ohio State starting lineup by guards Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott, and center Amir Williams. A 6-8 junior, Ross replaced departed leading scorer and rebounder Deshaun Thomas in the Buckeyes’ starting five, as Scott effectively pushed junior forward Sam Thompson to the OSU bench. The Buckeyes’ starters may not be set in stone yet, however, as OSU head coach Thad Matta has a history of experimenting with different lineup combinations in exhibition games.
Craft added 14 points and five assists for the Buckeyes, while Williams contributed eight points and 10 rebounds. An encouraging sign for Ohio State came in the form of freshman forward Marc Loving, who showed an ability on the boards, pulling down nine rebounds to go along with five points.
The Buckeyes’ defense appeared to be in midseason form as well, limiting Walsh to 40 percent shooting and forcing 23 turnovers. The Cavaliers were led by guard Jesse Hardin, who contributed 18 points to Walsh’s cause.
With their preseason blowout in the books, the Buckeyes will now look ahead to their 12 p.m. tipoff with the Golden Bears on Nov. 9. Hailing from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Morgan State compiled a 17-15 record in the 2012-13 season.