No. 10 Ohio State wants to fine-tune things before a colossal upcoming matchup, while Morgan State dreams of copying other squads that have notched unexpected road upsets this season when the teams meet in Columbus on Friday night.
It will be the final game in a seven-game, season-opening homestand for Ohio State (6-0). The Buckeyes then head to No. 6 North Carolina for a nonconference showdown on Wednesday.
The Buckeyes are coming off a 71-52 win over Kent State that actually provided Ohio State with some adversity despite the lopsided final score.
OSU squandered a 17-point lead in the second half and saw the Golden Flashes tie the game at 48-48 with 10:40 remaining.
The Buckeyes then responded with a 17-0 run to reclaim control and take a 65-48 lead with 3:55 left over its in-state opponent.
“It was good for us,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. “We needed it. It was physical. We needed that and we now need to take and learn how to be better in this area.”
The Buckeyes are led by one of the nation’s best centers, Kaleb Wesson, a 6-foot-9, 270-pound force averaging 12.7 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Guards D.J. Carton and Duane Washington Jr. have stepped up when Wesson has been in foul trouble. Carton is averaging 11.2 points and shooting 56.8 percent. Washington is averaging 10.3 points and shooting 59 percent from 3-point range.
Still, production when Wesson is not on the floor remains a concern for Holtmann.
“I think that is as big of a question about our group as any,” he said. “How do we play for long stretches without him? In particular, how do we score and rebound without him? I think that is where other guys have to continue to get better. It’s very much a work in progress. Can we do that consistently?”
Morgan State (3-5) will arrive to much colder temperatures in Columbus in comparison to their previous road trip. The Bears just finished playing three games at The Islands of the Bahamas Showcase.
First-year head coach in Kevin Broadus was previously an assistant at Maryland and Georgetown and the head coach at Binghamton.
“I think we’re going to have to manufacture points with our defense,” Broadus said before the season. “We’re going to play up on you, play hard on the defensive end to manufacture points and try to wear down.”
Defense certainly wasn’t a theme of Morgan State’s last game in the Bahamas. The Bears lost 115-112 to Evansville, which won at Kentucky earlier in the season.
Morgan State is led by senior guard Stanley Davis Jr., who is averaging 12.0 points per game.
–Field Level Media