Pat Kiscaden squared up and calmly sank the three pointer, capping a 9-0 run for his visiting Presbyterian College Blue Hose. There were less than 12 minutes remaining in the first half, and his team held a 14-11 lead over Ohio State.
From there, to say it was all Buckeyes would be a grave understatement of the facts. OSU put together a 41-6 run during the next 13:33, dominating in every facet of the game, and pulled away for the 87-43 victory.
“I told (OSU head coach) Thad (Matta) after the game, I think we got his team going and he owes me a little bit more than that $60,000 they paid for us to come up here,” PC head coach Gregg Nibert said.
After struggling with their offense in the last few games, the Buckeyes (6-3) exploded in a big way against PC (1-11), a team transitioning into becoming a Division I school.
The deciding run began with a 16-0 mini-run keyed by freshman center Kosta Koufos, who had nine points and two rebounds during the 5:22 it lasted.
After a trey by Kiscaden broke the drought for PC, OSU closed the half on a 13-3 run. The Buckeyes then opened the second half with a 12-0 run keyed by four Blue Hose turnovers and highlighted by a three-point play from freshman Evan Turner that saw him steal a pass, drive down the court and draw contact while laying the ball into the basket.
PC’s first second-half basket did not come until the 15:54 mark when Kiscaden hit a three pointer.
“That was very important for us,” OSU senior guard Jamar Butler said of the run to open the second half. “In the past when a team has called timeout we’ll come back out and they’ll make a run on us. We talked all week about smelling blood in the water and keep attacking, don’t let your foot off the pedal.”
Midway through the second half, PC swingman Josh Johnson’s desperation trey as the shot clock wound down missed the backboard entirely and barely nicked the shot clock. It was that kind of half for the Blue Hose, who had just three rebounds and committed 11 turnovers.
Facing a zone defense, OSU frequently fed the ball into the high post and forced the zone to collapse, opening up players for easy shots.
For the game, the Buckeyes shot 71.4 percent (35 of 49) from the floor – a Value City Arena record. They missed just six shots in the second half. As a team, PC has more turnovers (20) than OSU had missed shots (14).
“That’s what leads to fast breaks,” Butler said. “Turnovers lead to easy buckets.”
OSU was led by Koufos, who had 21 points on 8 of 9 shooting. Butler had 16 points and eight assists, while senior forward Othello Hunter added 13 points and a team-high five rebounds. Freshman guard Evan Turner earned his second consecutive start and finished with five points and seven turnovers. Together, Koufos and Hunter combined to go 14 of 17 from the floor.
Every player on the Buckeyes’ roster saw game action.
The Buckeyes utilized a full-court press for much of the game, helping add to PC’s struggles. Not content with simply pressuring the ball down the court, OSU’s defenders utilized the sideline and often trapped two or three times on a given possession.
The approach apparently worked, and Matta attributed the aggressiveness that came out of the press to his team’s success at the other end of the court.
“I thought we were much more aggressive tonight on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We were able to generate some easy points in transition. We did a good job of moving the basketball. I thought guys were ready to shoot the ball more so than maybe in the past. We put a premium on shooting here the last few weeks and it was good to see us finally make some shots.”
Of PC’s 43 points, 33 of them came on three pointers. Kiscaden led the way, going 6 of 11 from behind the arc. He did not take a shot inside the arc and finished with a team-high 18 points.
Although it was against a team with just one victory against a D-I foe in its history, Butler said he feels the Buckeyes gained a new level of confidence from the win.
“It’s good for our young guys to build their confidence,” Butler said. “Just to see them out there having fun, that’s the main thing.”