COLUMBUS, Ohio — It wasn’t always pretty, but Ohio State will surely take it.
The Buckeyes held off a fight from Providence on Thursday night and came away with the win, 72-67. Sophomore point guard JaQuan Lyle shook off two rough showings to open the season and helped carry the Buckeyes to the victory. The Buckeyes led by 10 at the completion of the first half — a half in which he accounted for 15 points.
It was a much better effort than Ohio State (3-0) gave in its last game, a lackluster 69-63 win Monday against North Carolina Central. Instead, the Buckeyes played their best game of the season Thursday and have a great result to show for it. The Friars, meanwhile, fell to 1-1 on the season.
WHY IT HAPPENED
As mentioned above, Ohio State started quickly and hit shots when it needed to. Providence provided a big fight in the second half, but the hosts managed to hang on. While the Buckeyes shot really well from the field (50 percent), they struggled from the free-throw line (70 percent). That’s a recipe for headaches going forward. However, it was enough to win on Thursday night.
WHAT IT MEANS
There’s hope yet, Ohio State fans. This season carries with it a lot of implications for the future of Ohio State basketball. The results haven’t necessarily been pretty, but the Buckeyes remain undefeated three games into the season. Providence is a name opponent and not just a throwaway game. The Buckeyes rose to the challenge and showed they were able to get the job done. Furthermore, this game could serve as a launching pad for Lyle, who finally played the way his team needs him to.
As mentioned above, Thursday was Lyle’s night at Value City Arena. The sophomore led the Buckeyes with 21 points and also contributed 8 rebounds and 7 assists. He showed Ohio State coaches exactly what they needed to see.
Micah Potter didn’t have his best night out there. The freshman center lasted just 1 minute, 17 seconds in the first half before picking up two fouls and sitting on the bench the rest of the half. He didn’t provide much of an impact in the second half, either, finishing with no points in just 4 minutes.
The Buckeyes face Western Carolina at home for a 7 p.m. ET tip on Monday. The game will be shown on the Big Ten Network and streamed online through BTN Plus.
FINAL: Ohio State 72, Providence 67 pic.twitter.com/Qjd1SNZ8WD
— Ryan Ginn (@rmginn) November 18, 2016