Ohio State Bullies Bearcats, 81-53, to pick up first Maui Invitational victory

A quick turnaround didn’t stop Ohio State from snapping its fifth straight all-time series win against Cincinnati during an all-Ohio affair in Hawaii.

Squad

1

2

THE FINAL

STATE OF OHIO 38 43 81

CINCINNATI

27

26

53

After a Monday night loss to No. 17 San Diego State, the Buckeyes jumped into the Maui Invitational win column with a commanding 81-53 victory over the Bearcats, who fell to 0-2 in the tournament. Ohio State improved to 4-1 on the season and will now move on to face No. 21 Texas Tech at 2:30 pm Wednesday.

Ohio State led for all but 4:32 of the first half and went into halftime with a double-digit lead after exercising a clear edge on the glass. That didn’t change in the second half as the Buckeyes pulled even further behind a commanding performance by Zed Key, who led all scorers with 19 points, second most of his career.

For the second straight game, Buckeye freshmen Brice Sensabaugh and Bruce Thornton both finished in double figures (17 apiece) as the pair continue to come of age to start the season.

First half

After combining to score just 13 points in Monday’s loss to San Diego State, Zed Key and Justice Sueing scored a first 13 for the Buckeyes in the first five minutes and switchup. A 2:48 p.m. dunk by Sueing was part of an 11-2 run for Ohio State, which gave them a 13-10 lead and forced a Cincinnati timeout.

STATE OF OHIO

STATISTICS

CINCINNATI

81

POINTS

53

30-64 (46.9%)

FGM-FGA (PCT.)

20-52 (38.5%)

6-20 (30%)

3pm-3PA (Pct.)

4-18 (22.2%)

15-18 (83.3%)

FTM-ALS (PCT.)

9-15 (60%)

6

BILLED

14

42

FULL REFUNDS

29

19

OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS

12

23

DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS

17

29

POINTS ON THE BENCH

21

2

BLOCKS

5

3

STEAL

3

7

ASSIST

4

The Bearcats briefly pulled back a one-point lead at 11:53, but Ohio State got back to the lead and held the lead the rest of the period. From 4:48 to 3:37, the Buckeyes embarked on a 9-0 run to build their first double-digit lead of the night.

A three-pointer by Brice Sensabaugh on the buzzer gave the Buckeyes a 38-27 halftime lead, capping a period in which Ohio State shot 45.7 percent from the floor. Cincinnati struggled from the field, hitting just 38.5% of its shots and two of its seven 3-point attempts.

Key and Sueing combined to score 21 of Ohio State’s 38 points on 9-of-16 shooting.

Ohio State dominated the glass early, ending the first half with a 23-15 lead on the scoreboard. Eleven of those were offensive rebounds, three by Key alone, which resulted in 14 second-chance points for the Buckeyes.

Second half

Key continued to spin to start the final frame, hitting a layup and then slamming home a dunk to put Ohio State up by 14 points with just 72 seconds into the half. The Buckeyes capitalized on a 1-of-5 start for Cincinnati, and Bruce Thornton scored eight points in just the first six minutes to lead Ohio State up to 21 at 14:04.

Thornton’s next bucket, a triple-bet at 9:20, gave the Buckeyes a 63-39 lead as he and Sensabaugh scored 20 of Ohio State’s first 27 points in the second half. Thornton finished with 15 points in the second half alone, and now set his season-high point total in back-to-back contests.

Frequent turnovers continued to diminish any chance of a Cincinnati comeback, and the Buckeyes routinely made the Bearcats pay for their mistakes. Cincinnati turned the ball over 14 times to just six by the Buckeyes, who finished with a 24-4 lead in dropped points.

The foul problems didn’t help either, as Ohio State took 14 of its 18 attempts from the free throw line in the final 20 minutes. Cincinnati attempted half of free throws in the second half.

Despite inefficient night shooting, Sueing gave the Buckeyes a fourth double-digit scorer in the second half of the period, his first double-digit (11) game since Ohio State’s second game of the season.

Redshirt freshman Kalen Etzler even got into action in the final moments, scoring the first official Buckeye points of his career to cap a game-ending 8-0 run for Ohio State.

Game notes

  • Cincinnati opened its Maui Invitational run with a 101-93 loss to No. 14 Arizona on Monday night.

  • Tuesday marked the seventh all-time meeting between Ohio State and Cincinnati, with the Buckeyes on a four-game hitting streak going into the Maui Invitational matchup. The pair last met on November 6, 2019, when the Buckeyes beat the Bearcats by eight points at home.

  • There were no changes in Ohio State’s starting five, as Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Isaac Likekele, Justice Sueing, and Zed Key all made fifth straight starts to open the season.

  • Eugene Brown (concussion protocol) missed his fifth straight game for Ohio State.

  • Ohio State has not lost to Cincinnati since the 1962 National Championship game.

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