Buckeyes Top Walsh In Exhibition Finale 87-62

The Ohio State men's basketball team wrapped up its exhibition schedule with an 87-62 win over visiting Walsh University on Sunday. Senior guard Ron Lewis led the Buckeyes with 21 points. Ohio State, ranked No. 4 in the country, will tip-off its regular season slate on Friday against visiting VMI in the BCA Classic.

Ohio State closed out the exhibition portion of its schedule with a 87-62 win over visiting Walsh University on Sunday.

The Buckeyes were led by senior guard Ron Lewis with 21 points.

Also for OSU, junior guard Jamar Butler had 15 points, freshman forward David Lighty had 13, junior forward Othello Hunter had 12 points and eight rebounds, and freshman point guard Mike Conley Jr., had 11 points and nine assists.

For Walsh, which competes at the NAIA Division II level, Eder Araujo finished with 19 points to lead the Cavaliers.

"We had some areas we got better at from Wednesday night," OSU head coach Thad Matta said. "Offensively, we did a better job of setting guys up and making the extra pass.

"Defensively, we were more active. However, we're getting three guys playing hard and if one guy lets up we give up easy baskets. We've got to get all five guys playing good defensive together."

Matta also talked about the strong performance from Conley.

"He has such a command and understanding for what we want to do," he said. "He sees things before they happen and he just has a great feel for the game."

Conley was most pleased about his 9:0 assist-to-turnover ratio.

"Definitely," he said. "That makes me feel like I'm doing my job and helping the team win. Today I think we did a better job in our transition game and getting easy baskets. We took advantage of our speed and athleticism across the board."

The one downfall for OSU was that Walsh outrebounded the Buckeyes 39-29.

"We're working on it every day in practice," Lighty said. "That is going to be real important for us and we need to do a better job of rebounding."

After a somewhat slow start to the game, the Buckeyes began to turn it on. Lewis threw down a tomahawk dunk on breakaway, giving OSU a 16-8 lead at the 13:20 mark of the first half.

Consecutive three-pointers from Lewis and Butler gave the Buckeyes a 22-9 lead at the 9:48 mark.

Daequan Cook dropped in a nice fadeaway bucket for OSU at the 6:50 mark, pushing its lead to 26-12.

Walsh was able to briefly get the lead under double-digits (28-19), but a three from the multi-faceted Lighty gave the Buckeyes a 31-19 advantage at the 3:58 mark of the first half.

A fastbreak basket from Lewis off a nice feed from Conley was followed by a three-pointer from Lighty to give OSU its largest lead of the first half at 37-19 with 1:31 showing on the clock.

Conley, who could be one of the best point guards in the Big Ten this year, finished the half off with a nice driving basket. The Buckeyes took a 39-22 lead with them into the locker room.

Lighty led the Buckeyes with 10 points in the first half and Lewis added nine.

Lewis ignited the crowd early in the second half with an alley-oop dunk from Conley, giving the Buckeyes at 47-25 lead.

A Butler three-pointer at the 17:13 mark pushed OSU's commanding lead to 50-27.

Lewis threw down yet another dunk at the 13:47 mark, this time coming in breakaway fashion off a steal.

Conley, showcasing his entire game, dropped in a putback rebound off an Ivan Harris missed three-pointer for a 59-33 OSU lead at the 13:14 mark. Yes, that was a 6-1 point guard going high above the rim for the rebound.

At the 9:45 mark, Harris got on the board for the first time with a 3-pointer, giving OSU a 68-39 advantage.

A Conley lay-up at the 8:20 mark pushed the Buckeyes' lead to 30 (71-41) for the first time and OSU cruised from there, completing their exhibition schedule with a 2-0 record.

Notes:

Matta announced that sophomore walk-on guard Sam Payne has left the team to focus on academics. That leaves OSU with just nine players, including freshman center Greg Oden who is out for the next few weeks with a wrist injury.

"The thing I feel good about is all nine guys can play," Matta said.

Walsh was 27-7 last year and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NAIA Division II Tournament. The Cavaliers, who returned all five starters and 10 lettermen from that squad, are ranked No. 7 in the NAIA preseason poll this year.

In 2004-05, Walsh captured the NAIA national championship.

Ohio State assistant coach Dan Peters was the head coach at Walsh from 1983-88. He is the all-time wins leader at Walsh with 116 (116-40, .744) and won at least 20 games all five seasons.

Ohio State went with a starting lineup of Conley, Butler, Cook, Lighty and Hunter. Lewis, Matt Terwilliger and Harris were in the game before the first media timeout.

Ohio State, ranked No. 4 in the country, will open up its regular season schedule on Friday at home against VMI at 8 p.m. The game is part of the eight-team SportsTime Ohio/BCA Classic. The Buckeyes will also play Saturday and Sunday in the tournament.


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