Without Jae’Sean Tate thanks to a minor ankle injury that shouldn’t cost him any regular season games, the Buckeyes started junior Marc Loving, sophomore Keita Bates-Diop, Trevor Thompson and Kam Williams and freshman JaQuan Lyle.
Bates-Diop showed off some new-found aggression on the offensive end, scoring a team-high 26 points on just 13 shots. He hit 4-of-5 3-point attempts and hauled in eight rebounds.
“That’s just how I’m looking to approach the season and I guess I’m going to carry that over in to the rest of the season," Bates-Diop said of his aggressive mindset.
Also contributing offensively was Loving who put up 24 points with 10 rebounds while Lyle did a little of everything with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in 33 minutes.
"I’m a bigger guard so I’m not scared to go down there and rebound with the big guys, I did a little of that today," Lyle said. "Just scoring options, that’s from them making shots and the defense adjusting to them then that gives me an open lane. It’s all a team effort and that’s the bottom line.”
In the post, Thompson split time with freshman Daniel Giddens and red shirt freshman Dave Bell and the trio seemed to give good energy throughout. Thompson was the high scorer among the three with 6 points while he added 10 rebounds.
The biggest concerns for the Buckeyes came on the defensive end. Ohio State fouled too frequently, sending Walsh to the line 14 times in the first half, but cleaned things up after the break as Cavaliers attempted just four free throws after intermission. Three-point defense was a concern as Walsh hit 14 of 36 tries form deep on the game.
"I thought they would play with a little more urgency on the defensive end," Matta said. "We were reacting, not attacking on defense. I think for those guys this was a good thing. We literally thought about playing two exhibition games because we were so young this year, but it is what it is and we’ve got real bullets starting next Sunday.”
Ohio State plays its first game of the season Nov. 15 when Mount Saint Mary's comes to Value City Arena for a noon tipoff.