Ohio State takes another step in its bid to develop chemistry when the Buckeyes oppose Cincinnati on Tuesday in the consolation bracket of the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.
The Buckeyes (3-1) lost 88-77 to No. 17 San Diego State on Monday with a lineup that included four freshmen and three transfers.
Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher was impressed with his opponent.
“Maybe we had a leg up because we had more experience than Ohio State had,” he said. “But if we run into Ohio State a month from now and those young guys get all that experience, then it’s going to be another tough battle if it ever happens.”
Cincinnati (3-2) fell 101-93 to No. 14 Arizona on Monday.
The Bearcats trailed 40-30 at the half and responded by shooting 62.9 percent (22 of 35) in the second half, but it wasn’t enough when Arizona made 79.3 percent (23 of 29) from the floor over the same span.
“I didn’t think we had a lack of effort or a lack of want-to,” Cincinnati coach Wes Miller said. “But our players have never seen anything like that. They hung 61 on us in the second half. That’s not good enough.”
Senior Landers Nolley II scored a career-high 33 points for Cincinnati, topping his 30 points vs. Clemson on Nov. 5, 2019, while playing for Virginia Tech.
“I was really proud of our kids’ fight,” Miller said. “We’re going to be a really good team. I’m sure of that tonight. I’m sure of it.”
The Buckeyes got 22 points, all but two in the second half, from West Virginia transfer Sean McNeil. He totaled 19 points in the first three games of the season.
“I’ve had multiple conversations with the staff,” McNeil said. “They want me to be more aggressive, and I was more aggressive in the first half, but in the second half, I saw one or two fall and then confidence builds and that’s kind of what happens.”
Ohio State leads the series with its in-state rival 8-4 with four straight wins.
–Field Level Media