COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State got a victory and some teaching points from its 82-72 win over Radford on Sunday.
The Buckeyes (2-0) faced a strong rebounding team and held a 45-33 advantage on the boards, and also weathered the Radford (1-1) press to an extent.
“Give Radford a lot of credit. I thought they did some really good things to challenge us today in a lot of ways.” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “We’re not a pressing team so we don’t see a lot of that in practice. This was a good chance to go against it.”
Keita Bates-Diop had his second strong performance on his path to injury recovery with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Buckeyes.
C.J. Jackson added 19 points and Jae’Sean Tate had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Buckeyes (2-0), who led 44-34 at the half. OSU was up by 26 in the second half before Radford had a late flurry in the final four minutes but the outcome was not in doubt.
Jackson had a nervy start with four early turnovers but Holtmann, in his first season after replacing Thad Matta, is developing an understanding how his guard plays.
“I was trying to make the home-run play,” Jackson said. “Once he pulled me to the side, he said hit singles and that’s what I tried to do when I came back in.”
Jackson finished with seven turnovers, six rebounds and three assists.
Carlik Jones led Radford (1-1) with 19 points and Randy Phillips scored 12.
Bates-Diop, who missed all but nine games last season with a stress fracture in his left leg, had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the season-opening 95-64 win over Robert Morris on Friday.
“Our guys have found him and freed him up,” Holtmann said.
Ohio State led by 10 at the half but the Highlanders presented problems with their press, although they failed to take advantage.
Each team committed 15 turnovers, but OSU converted them to 24 points compared to 16 for Radford and the Buckeyes shot 43.3 percent from the floor despite the pressure.
“They made shots we tend to like people to shoot against the press,” Radford coach Mike Jones said.
Radford in its opener Friday vs. Georgia Southwestern trailed by two at halftime but started the second half on a 21-5 run that led to a 72-63 win. The Highlanders had the role reversed against the Buckeyes by being outscored 17-1 in the first 6 ½ minutes after the break. “The second half we showed a lack of poise coming out of the locker room,” Jones said.
Ohio State continues to take nurturing steps under Holtmann. The Buckeyes are learning his system and opening with two wins builds confidence in the transition.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Radford is 1-7 vs. Big Ten schools. Its lone win was 86-74 at Penn State on Nov. 24, 2015. . The Buckeyes are 3-0 vs. the Highlanders and 15-0 against the Big South. Holtmann, who coach Gardner-Webb in that conference, as well as at Butler, improved to 4-2 vs. Radford.
THEY SAID IT
“They certainly weren’t as big as this team. They didn’t have those big mountains standing in the paint on the weak side getting offensive rebounds.” — Jones comparing Holtmann’s Gardner-Webb teams to Ohio State.
Radford is on the road vs. East Carolina on Wednesday for the second of three consecutive away games.
Ohio State plays the third of four straight home games when it hosts Texas Southern on Thursday.