LAHAINA, Hawaii – Ohio State dominated both ends of the floor, taking down in-state foe Cincinnati, 81-53, on the second day of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tuesday evening.
Ohio State improves to 4-1 on the season while Cincinnati falls for the third-consecutive game and is now 3-3 on the year.
Who led the way
Junior Zed Key came just two rebounds shy of his fourth double-double, posting a season-high 19 points to go along with eight rebounds. He finished 8-of-11 from the floor, pacing the Buckeyes with 12, first-half points, and notching four offensive rebounds.
Freshman Bruce Thornton played arguably his best game of the season, tallying double digits for the second-straight game and finishing with a season-high 17 points. He proved to be the engine behind the offense in the second half, scoring 15 of his points on 5-of-7 shooting in the closing half.
Fellow freshman Brice Sensabaugh continued his torrid pace to start his Buckeye career. He notched double figures for the fifth-straight game, also finishing with 17 points on the night.
Stats that mattered
Turnovers – Ohio State controlled the pace of the game, committing a season-low six turnovers, while forcing the Bearcats into 14 miscues. More importantly, the Scarlet and Grey held a 24-4 advantage in points off turnovers.
Rebounds – The Buckeyes dominated the paint, holding a 42-29 advantage in rebounds, including pulling down 19 offensive boards, which led to 27 second-chance points. Key led the way with eight rebounds, while Isaac Likekele and Tanner Holden notched seven, apiece.
Fast Break Points – The Scarlet and Gray dictated the tempo throughout the contest. Facing a Bearcat squad that liked to run the floor, Ohio State didn’t allow a single fast-break basket in the entirety of the contest. In fact, neither side posted a point in transition by game’s end.
How it Happened
The Bearcats opened the game with their largest run of the first half, getting a pair of threes from Jeremiah Davenport. He knocked down his first two triples of the night, but Cincinnati would not hit another from deep through the opening 20 minutes.
The Buckeyes responded with their first big run of the half, going on an 11-2 stretch to take the advantage (13-10) in just four minutes of game time. In the run, Key totaled six points and assisted on a dunk by Justice Sueing, who tallied five in the swing. Ohio State bullied the Bearcats on the glass, pulling down five offensive rebounds in the stretch.
Neither team would lead by more than four points over the next ten minutes of action, but the Buckeyes maintained a 28-24 lead after a turnaround jumper by Sensabaugh with 4:48 to play in the frame.
Ohio State finished the first half strong, holding the Bearcats to just three points over the final six minutes of the half. Locking down on the defensive end, the Buckeyes forced four turnovers on five Bearcat possessions. Sensabaugh finished the scoring in the frame, knocking down a triple as time expired to give the Scarlet and Gray a 38-27 lead at the break.
The first-seven minutes of the second half saw the Buckeyes secure the victory as Ohio State put together a 16-5 run to surge ahead by 22 points (54-32). Thornton was the catalyst, scoring eight points in the run, with all eight coming off Bearcat turnovers. Key added five in the swing, while Sensabaugh added a three.
The lead would get no smaller than 18 points as Ohio State would cruise to the 28-point victory and their fourth win in five chances this season.
Ohio State will conclude their stay at the Maui Invitational with the fifth-place game as the Buckeyes will take on the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. The matchup is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. ET start and will be televised on ESPN.
COURTESY OSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS