Men’s Basketball: Youth paces No. 17 Ohio State to 82-46 exhibition win over Indianapolis

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Sophomore forward Eugene Brown III (3) dunks during the Ohio State-Indianapolis game Monday. Ohio State won 82-46. Photo Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

No. 17 Ohio State earned an 82-46 exhibition win over Indianapolis Monday, behind strong performances from multiple underclassmen.

With fans in the Schottenstein Center for the first time since the 2019 season, Ohio State’s youth was on full display for the Buckeye faithful. As Ohio State’s veteran corps struggled to produce offense in the first half, the Buckeyes turned to a quartet of youngsters to pace them through the early goings.

Sophomore forward Zed Key registered 10 first-half points, while sophomore forward Eugene Brown III hit all three of his first-half field goal attempts for seven points in the opening frame.

In the backcourt, freshmen guards Meechie Johnson Jr. and Malaki Branham generated plenty of offense in the opening half. Johnson was aggressive in his pursuit to the basket, dropping nine points in the first half.

Branham introduced himself to Buckeye Nation with a seven-point first half.

Ohio State’s youth movement continued to make its mark in the second half, particularly Johnson.

Johnson used his speed and quickness to get to the foul line multiple times in the second half, drilling 5-of-6 attempts from the charity stripe. The Cleveland native finished the game with 12 points.

Outside of Johnson, Branham helped Ohio State’s ailing three-point offense, which shot 32 percent Monday, drilling 2-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc. Branham finished the contest with 12 points.

Down low, Key and Brown combined for 10 second-half points, helping the quartet to 49 total points for the night. All four guys put together double-digit scoring performances, as Brown led the team with 15 points — hitting 3-of-4 three-point attempts.

Junior forward E.J. Liddell was held scoreless until just under four minutes remaining in the first half, missing his first two shots of the night.

But, the Greyhounds could not contain Liddell all night.

Despite scoring just three first-half points, Liddell was lights out in the second half — drilling 4-of-5 shot attempts in the frame.

On the defensive end, Key kept the paint locked down, picking up a game-high four blocks. Their efforts helped Ohio State stake out a 35-to-19 scoring advantage in the paint.

The Buckeyes also caused numerous errors for the Greyhounds’ offense, as Indianapolis turned the ball over 19 times. Graduate guard Jamari Wheeler and senior forward Justin Ahrens helped the Buckeyes to five steals, including two from Ahrens.

Senior guard Cory Miller Jr. was the lone bright spot for Indianapolis, who shot 32 percent as a team, producing 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Ohio State kicks off the regular season Nov. 9 against Akron at the Schottenstein Center, tipping off at 6 p.m. on ESPN 2.

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