COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a jumper in the paint by Babatunde Olumuyiwa (Athens, Ga.) tied the contest at 26 with 3:01 to play in the first half, Ohio State used an 11-2 run to take a 37-28 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Buckeyes outscored the Spartans 45-30 in the second half en route to the 82-58 win Wednesday night inside the Value City Arena.
The score was tied six different times in the first half and there were a pair of lead changes in the first 20 minutes.
"I thought we played extremely well the first 18 minutes of the contest," said Spartan head coach Eddie Payne. "Our downfall was we turned the ball over 25 times tonight and that really hurt us. I think our players learned a lot from this game and we will continue to get better going forward."
Ohio State (9-1) opened the contest on a 12-5 run over the first 4:53 of the contest before the Spartans (6-5) began to chip away at the lead. With the Buckeyes in front, 14-8, the Spartans used a 7-0 run to take a 15-14 lead with 10:33 remaining in the half.
The Spartan spurt was highlighted by an Olumuyiwa put back dunk and Torrey Craig's three-pointer that gave Upstate the one-point lead.
Upstate pushed its lead to as many as four on two different occasions in the first half. The Spartans lead 19-15 on another triple by Craig with 8:49 to play. The final four-point advantage came on Adrian Rodgers' (Alpharetta, Ga.) jumper from outside the paint, putting the Spartans in front, 21-17 with eight minutes left on the clock.
A three-pointer by William Buford and a pair of Aaron Craft free throws gave the Buckeyes a 22-21 lead with 5:30 left in the first.
Upstate kept it close and Olumuyiwa's jumper in the paint with just over three minutes to play tied the game at 26.
The Buckeyes used an 11-2 run over the final 2:44 of the contest to push in front by nine (37-28) at the break.
"I think we beat a very, very good basketball team tonight," said Ohio State head coach Thad Matta. "When they chew up the clock by moving the ball around and were not shooting real quick and it lowered the amount of possessions in the contest. I felt that we didn't come out with the intensity we needed tonight. The kid, (Torrey) Craig is a phenomenal player and he went on a run where he hit two free throws and two three pointers and just like that he had eight points."
The Spartans were able to cut the deficit to six early in the second half, but Ohio State quickly pushed the lead to double-digits as the Buckeyes used a strong second period to claim the 82-58 victory Wednesday night.
Craig paced the Spartans with 20 points while Ricardo Glenn (Augusta, Ga.) grabbed a team high seven rebounds and poured in 10 points. Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 23 points, followed by William Buford with 14. In his first action since the Duke contest (Nov. 29), Jared Sullinger tallied a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in 25 minutes of action.
The Spartans actually out-rebounded the Buckeyes, 30-22, but points in the paint and turnovers hurt the Spartans. Ohio State outscored Upstate 40-18 in the paint and forced 25 Spartan turnovers.
Upstate will return to action Saturday afternoon when they open league at Stetson. Tip-off between the Spartans and the Hatters is slated for 3:15 p.m.