Buckeyes Roundball Roundup: Two more (cupcake) wins to start 4-0

Don’t worry, the Ohio State Buckeyes will start playing some better competition soon. Although they’ve had a weak schedule through their first four games, Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes have taken advantage of the opportunity and not only have gone a perfect 4-0, but they have also blown out much of their competition as well, while giving the majority of their roster playing time.

Keita Bates-Diop notches third-straight triple-double in Ohio State’s 82-64 win over Texas Southern

Prior to the season, many believed that the Buckeyes would go as far as forwards Jae’Sean Tate and Keita-Bates Diop would take them. Although they don’t have as much depth as they should given the coaching change in the offseason, those two talented players can lead Ohio State to a better-than-average season and turn a lot of heads while doing so.

So far, Tate and Bates-Diop have done just that. Thursday night, the scarlet and gray took care of business against a much lesser opponent. They jumped out to an early 17-point lead before taking a 42-29 lead into halftime.

The Tigers cut the lead to 54-45 after they went on a quick 8-0 run midway through the second half in a run that saw the Buckeyes go 0-for-5 from the field while committing five fouls. Soon after, Texas Southern then went on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to just two at 59-57. Last year, those two runs that allowed the lead to dwindle to single digits could have been hard to come back from, but not for this season’s Buckeyes.

Thanks to a 13-0 run, Ohio State took control of the game yet again with just a few minutes left to take the lead (and the win) for good.

After missing much of last season, Bates-Diop hasn’t missed a beat so far this season. With 17 points, 12 rebounds, one steal, and two blocks, the redshirt junior finished with his third-straight double-double to start the season. Tate (17 points, seven rebounds, three assists) and Micah Potter (17 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block) also hit the 17-point mark.

Freshman Musa Jallow started his first game in place of senior Kam Williams while freshman Kaleb Wesson served a one-game suspension “for a failure to meet the expectations of the men’s basketball program,” Holtmann said. Even without their starting big man, Jallow made the most of his opportunity, finishing with 13 points, six rebounds, two assists, and four steals.

The Buckeyes assisted on 19 of their 30 made shots while outrebounding their opponent, 39-30 even without Wesson. Ohio State somewhat struggled from the field though, making just 46 percent of their shots from the field and 32 percent from long distance.

Even with the win, Holtmann admitted that the team is a work in progress.

“We are a work in progress, we are learning a lot about this group, first and foremost how we respond in those moments,” he said. “We have a lot to work on, but we can each take that and build on it.”

Unfortunately, the program said goodbye to longtime trainer Vince O’Brien, who decided to retire during his 18th season with the Buckeyes. He has taken a new role with the school’s Sports Medicine Department.

Jae’Sean Tate sets school record during perfect shooting day in Buckeyes’ 80-65 win against Northeastern

They may have only won by 15, but Ohio State crushed Northeastern. After Tate scored 11 of the team’s first 13 points of the game, the scarlet and gray never looked back, took an early lead, and dominated a much lesser opponent at home Sunday afternoon.

The Buckeyes took a 41-12 lead in the first half and led 47-17 at halftime. It was the first time the program held at least a 30-point halftime lead since November 23, 2012, against UMKC.

It was a perfect day for Tate, at least on the basketball court. He not only finished with a career-high 24 points, but the forward was a perfect 10-for-10 from the field, which surpassed Brian Brown (2000) and John Havlicek (1961), who both made all nine of their shots in a game.1

Tate thanked his teammates following his perfect day from the floor.

“I just saw a couple of opportunities to attack. My teammates did a great job of getting the ball to me in the middle of the zone where I can be very effective. Without them, 10 for 10 probably wouldn’t have happened.”

Along with Tate, Bates-Diop (19 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals), Wesson (12 points, five rebounds, one block) and C.J. Jackson (10 points, three rebounds, three assists) also notched double-digits in the blowout.

Thanks to Wesson returning to the lineup, the Buckeyes dominated on the boards and played very well defensively. They outrebounded Northwestern, 38-19.

Next up this week

Thursday vs. Gonzaga, 11:59 p.m. ET

Friday vs. Florida or Stanford, TBD

Both games will be part of the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon

  1. Thanks to Eleven Warriors’ Dan Hope for digging into this historical stat for Tate. []