Bowling Green, OH

Men’s Basketball: Hard-nosed defense sparks No. 19 Ohio State past Bowling Green 89-58

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Ohio State's men's basketball team huddles during a stoppage in play during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=13Htjy_0cxkImac00 Ohio State graduate forward Kyle Young (25) dunks the ball during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0UnSuG_0cxkImac00 Ohio State graduate guard Jimmy Sotos (1) goes up in the paint for a shot during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=36b39M_0cxkImac00 Ohio State graduate guard Jamari Wheeler (55) dribbles the ball down the court during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2ilVPy_0cxkImac00 Ohio State junior forward E.J. Liddell (32) looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3gC9q7_0cxkImac00 Ohio State senior forward Harrison Hookfin (42) guards Bowling Green junior guard Chandler Turner (13) during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3EMmgP_0cxkImac00 Ohio State sophomore guard Eugene Brown III (3) moves the ball around the Bowling Green defense during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3LBhJ2_0cxkImac00 Ohio State freshman guard Meechie Johnson Jr. (0) prepares to shoot from behind the three-point line during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3PIqRi_0cxkImac00 Ohio State sophomore forward Zed Key (23) goes up for a layup during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1tVaQL_0cxkImac00 Ohio State graduate guard Jimmy Sotos (1) dribbles the ball down the court during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1boayz_0cxkImac00 Ohio State junior forward E.J. Liddell (32) tries to block Bowling Green junior guard Chandler Turner (13) during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1QB1Hh_0cxkImac00 Ohio State sophomore forward Zed Key (23) dunks the ball during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1f83fL_0cxkImac00 Ohio State senior forward Justin Ahrens (10) prepares shoot the ball from the three-point line during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1aLaAB_0cxkImac00 Ohio State sophomore forward Zed Key (23) tries to move around the Bowling Green defense during the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1APQcS_0cxkImac00 The Ohio State men's basketball team sings Carmen Ohio with fans after the Ohio State-Bowling Green game Monday. Ohio State won 89-58. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=09HM4n_0cxkImac00

No. 19 Ohio State used multiple first-half double-digit runs alongside suffocating defense to blitz past in-state rival Bowling Green 89-58 Monday.

Behind runs of 11- and 13-0, the Buckeyes (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) staked out a 23-point halftime lead, which they never relinquished. The Falcons (1-2, 0-0 MAC) shot just 8-for-31 in the opening frame, allowing the Buckeyes to jump out to the big lead early.

Ohio State’s smothering defense forced Bowling Green to finish the game shooting 39 percent from the field. The Buckeyes’ effort and energy continued on the perimeter, where the Falcons shot a cool 7-for-21.

Graduate forward Kyle Young led the charge for the Buckeyes defensively, tallying a block and two steals. Freshman guard Meechie Johnson Jr.’s four steals helped Ohio State force 18 Falcon turnovers.

Johnson added 13 points on 3-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc.

On the boards, the Buckeyes outclassed the Falcons — outrebounding their in-state adversary 43-32. Sophomore forward Zed Key led Ohio State with nine rebounds.

Key added 12 points in a near double-double.

As Ohio State saw plenty of contributors on the defensive end, that team effort bled into its play on offense.

Junior forward E.J. Liddell — who carried the Buckeyes’ offense with scoring totals of 25 and 29 in each of their first two games — saw the pressure for him to produce offense greatly alleviated Monday as Ohio State saw a much more balanced scoring attack.

The Buckeyes had five players with double-digit scoring and were led by Liddell — who produced 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Graduate transfer guard Jamari Wheeler sank his first two three-point attempts of the night. Wheeler also led the team in assists on the night, dropping five dimes.

Wheeler’s passing helped the Buckeyes to 27 assists, their best mark on the season.

Senior forward Justin Ahrens led the Buckeyes with three three-pointers made and added 11 points.

While Ohio State was drilling shots from long range, it also controlled the paint — outscoring the Falcons 46-26 in the lane.

Although Bowling Green’s offense faltered, junior forward Joe Reece tried to get the Falcons rolling — finishing the game 11 points on 62.5 percent from the field. Junior guard Samari Curtis added 11 points and three assists.

Ohio State heads on the road for the first time this season Thursday when it travels to Cincinnati to play Xavier in the Gavitt Games. The Buckeyes and Musketeers tip-off at 6:30 p.m. at the Cintas Center and will be televised on FS1.

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