Lewis Leads Buckeyes Over Loyola, 87-75

The Ohio State men's basketball team advanced to the finals of the BCA Classic with an 87-75 victory over visiting Loyola-Chicago on Saturday at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes were led by senior guard Ron Lewis with 27 points, his most during his OSU career. Ohio State will play Kent State for the championship on Sunday at 8 p.m.

Ohio State advanced to the finals of the BCA Classic with an 87-75 win over Loyola-Chicago on Saturday at Value City Arena.

Senior guard Ron Lewis scored 27 points – the most of his OSU career – to lead the Buckeyes (2-0). Lewis netted 34 points against Urbana as a sophomore at Bowling Green.

Lewis was 8-of-14 from the floor (4-of-6 from three-point range) and 7-of-8 from the free throw line against Loyola. He also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, one short of his career-best.

"Ron did a very good job," OSU head coach Thad Matta said. "I thought he really played within the control of what we trying to do. He was patient with the ball and waited for some drive opportunities to open up. I'm very, very pleased with Ron's performance, especially the rebounding because we've been on him about that."

The Ramblers (1-1) were led by senior forward Blake Schilb with 19 points.

Also for Ohio State, freshman guard Daequan Cook had 18 points and nine rebounds and senior forward Ivan Harris added 11. Cook is fast proving that he is a big scorer on the college level. He led the Buckeyes with 22 points in their season-opening win over VMI on Friday.

Loyola coach Jim Whitesell felt his team played well in stretches, but gave credit to the Buckeyes.

"It was fun to watch Ohio State until I knew I had to play them," Whitesell quipped. "They are so quick and athletic. The quickness factor with their guards, I was so impressed with those kids."

The 6-7 Harris scored all of his points in the second half and was 3-of-4 from three-point range.

"I think Ivan shot ball well tonight," Matta said. "Make no mistake about it, his size and range are big for our team if he can keep it going."

Rounding out the scoring for the Buckeyes, Mike Conley Jr. and Othello Hunter had eight points apiece, Matt Terwilliger had six, David Lighty had five and Jamar Butler had four. Butler took just three shots on the night (1-of-3) and seemed content to let Lewis and his other teammates to do the damage.

Ohio State took early control of the game as a Terwilliger tip-in gave the Buckeyes a 14-5 lead at the 16:00 mark of the first half.

Schilb did his best to keep the Ramblers in the game and made the count 14-9 with a bucket at the 15:02 mark.

A 12-2 OSU run really gave the Buckeyes some breathing room at 28-13. Lewis capped the spurt with a three-pointer at the 8:23 mark.

Ohio State's largest lead of the first half (37-19) came courtesy of another Lewis trey at the 4:27 mark.

But the highlight of the game belonged to Terwilliger. With 10 seconds left in the first half, off a missed three-pointer from Cook, Terwilliger threw down a one-handed put-back dunk, igniting the home crowd. The 6-8 Terwilliger was high off the floor and had to reach for the ball at near full extension before slamming it home. The play gave the Buckeyes a 44-29 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.

"Matt's dunk was a big momentum lifter for us going into the half," Matta said.

In the second half, a driving basket from Mike Conley Jr. gave OSU a 53-35 lead at the 16:50 mark.

A basket from the 6-7 Schilb cut OSU's lead to 57-44 at the 11:51 mark.

A pair of free throws from Lewis, and a three-point play from Cook gave OSU a 62-46 advantage with 11:05 remaining in the game.

Loyola would not go away, but at the same time it was never a serious threat to the Buckeyes.

Two three-pointers from Harris, a coast-to-coast bucket from Cook, and two free throws from Conley made the score 72-54 at the 7:16 mark.

A pair of free throws from Cook gave OSU its largest lead of the game (79-59) at the 5:05 mark.

Conley made a nice drive and dish to Hunter who slammed it down for an 81-64 OSU lead at the final media timeout of the evening (3:54).

The scrappy Loyola team managed to cut OSU's lead to 10 (81-71) on a three-pointer from Schilb at the 2:12 mark.

Conley pushed the Buckeyes' advantage to 83-71 with a pair of free throws at the 1:30 mark.

The Buckeyes cruised from there to make it two wins in as many nights to begin the season.

Matta was pleased to secure the victory, but thought his team played inconsistently at times.

"One of the big challenges we've got is that I think our youth showed tonight," he said. "But we did do a good job of getting stops when we needed them."


* Ohio State will face Kent State (2-0) in the championship game on Sunday at 8 p.m. at Value City Arena. The Golden Flashes defeated IUPUI 81-74 on Saturday. Kent State destroyed South Dakota State 105-50 in the opening round on Friday.

Kent was 25-9 last year and captured the Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament championships. The Golden Flashes have won at least 20 games for eight consecutive seasons and have reached the NCAA Tournament four times during that span (1999, 2001, 2002, 2006).

"They are a very good basketball team," Matta said. "We've got to see them twice now. It will be another unique challenge for our team. We need to get some rest and get ready because they have a tremendous program up there."

* With the win over Loyola, the Buckeyes now own a 47-9 record versus members of the Horizon League, formerly the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. The matchup with Loyola was the fourth meeting with the Ramblers. Ohio State is 30-8 against Butler University and owns wins against each of the Horizon League's nine representatives (Youngstown State, Wright State, Cleveland State, Illinois-Chicago, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Detroit).

* Loyola was 19-11 last season and the Ramblers are the preseason favorites in the Horizon League.

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