Buckeyes Go Downtown Vs. YSU

No. 4 Ohio State played downtown at Nationwide Arena Friday night. The Buckeyes continued to hit on all cylinders in a 91-57 win over Youngstown State. OSU moved to 6-0 heading into Wednesday's showdown at North Carolina. Click this free link for more.

Playing before a lively crowd at its borrowed home floor downtown at Nationwide Arena, No. 4 Ohio State jumped on Youngstown State early and often.

The Buckeyes (6-0) reeled off a 27-2 run midway through the first half on their way to a 54-25 halftime lead in what would become a 91-57 rout. The game, played before a crowd of 17,463 at Nationwide, was OSU's "dry run" for hosting NCAA Tournament action in March.

"I thought we were able to get going off our defense in the first half with some turnovers," said OSU coach Thad Matta, whose team had 11 steals on YSU's 16 turnovers. "We were happy and pleased with the effort that they gave early on with the defense."

Ivan Harris led five Buckeyes in double figures with 19 points and five rebounds. Harris was 7 of 11 from the floor, including 3 of 5 on three-pointers.

"That is great to see for Ivan," Matta said. "If he can keep adding elements to his game, he can help this team."

Daequan Cook added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Ron Lewis had 16 points and seven rebounds. Matt Terwilliger tallied 12 points, while David Lighty scored 11.

Mike Conley Jr. added eight points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals. Jamar Butler had just three points, but also dished nine assists.

"The one thing I can say about our team is we are not selfish," Lewis said.

Youngstown State (2-4) came into the game two days after a 65-56 loss at Michigan. The Penguins hung tough early, scoring the game's first four points. YSU trailed 13-12 after Quin Humphrey made a spinning jumper on the baseline.

This is where Ohio State embarked on its 27-2 run to put the outcome out of doubt. It began with a Lewis jam off a feed from Butler. Cook then made a jumper in the lane and hit a three in the corner off a pass from Conley. Conley then made a pair of driving layups. After Humphrey scored on a layup off an OSU turnover, the Buckeyes reeled off 16 more points to wrap up the run.

Terwilliger scored the next 10 points in the game, making a spinning hook shot, a three-point play inside, a bank shot off a pass from Butler and a three-pointer from the right wing.

"I thought Matt came in and gave us a boost," Matta said. "I think he is getting a pretty good feel for what his capabilities are."

Cook then backed his man down and made a hook shot before he rocked the house with an emphatic two-hand jam on an alley oop from Conley on an inbounds pass from under the basket. Conley then capped the run with a steal and a two-hand jam to give the Buckeyes a 40-14 lead with 4:37 left in the first half.

Ohio State then reeled off 10 more unanswered points late in the half with all of them coming from Lewis. He had two treys, a free throw and another three ball to give the Buckeyes a 54-22 lead with 34 seconds left in the half. YSU's Keston Roberts hit a three with 13 seconds left to cut the halftime margin to 54-25.

"That goes back to our point guards," Lewis said of his late-half run. "Jamar and Mike do a great job of finding us. They were 14-to-3 (assists to turnovers) tonight. Our job is to knock down shots. That's what we do."

The teams largely traded baskets for much of the second half until OSU hit the gas pedal again late in the game. The Buckeyes enjoyed their biggest lead of the night at 91-52 after walk-on Mark Titus buried a three with 47 seconds left.

John Barber led YSU with 16 points, while Humphrey had 15 and Roberts scored 11.

Also Notable

* OSU is now 2-0 in games played at Nationwide. The Buckeyes defeated Virginia Tech 62-57 in December 2003.

* OSU's 54 first-half points are a season high.

* OSU improved to 3-0 all-time vs. Youngstown State.

* Harris' 19-point game was one shy of his career high of 20 set at LSU in January 2005.

* Ohio State travels to current No. 3 North Carolina Wednesday (9 p.m., ESPN) for one of the marquee games in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. UNC () suffered its first loss at the hands of Gonzaga (80-74) in the semifinals of the preseason NIT on Wednesday. But the Tar Heels rebounded to defeat Tennessee 101-87 in a consolation game earlier Friday.

Matta was asked if he thinks his team is ready for UNC.

"It's kind of irrelevant if I think we are or not," joked Matta, whose team has won its first six games by an average of 24.5 points. "If you had asked me before the season if I thought we would be 6-0 going into Carolina, I'm not sure I would have thought we would be. There were a lot of unknowns.

"I know I would feel better if Greg (Oden) was healthy going into North Carolina. But this is a unique opportunity for us."

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