Ohio State escapes scare from UNC-Asheville, 79-77
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Jae’Sean Tate and JaQuan Lyle led Ohio State with 17 points each and Kam Williams made two free throws with four seconds left to ice the Buckeyes’ 79-77 win over UNC Asheville on Thursday night.
Trevor Thompson had his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Ohio State (10-3).
MaCio Teague scored 23 points for Asheville (8-5) and Raekwon Miller added 15.
Thompson committed a technical foul with 4:25 remaining, allowing Asheville to convert two free throws and the front end of a one-and-one and cap a 15-3 run to take its first lead at 67-65.
Teague sank an off-balanced layup to put Asheville on top once again at 69-67 before Lyle scored eight straight points for the Buckeyes and a 75-71 lead.
Alec Wnuk made his second 3 of the game, and only his third of the season, with 5.1 seconds left, making the score 77-75 but Williams ensured the win with two free throws.
After a 10-0 run early in the second half extended Ohio State’s lead to 46-35, Asheville’s 1-3-1 zone in the halfcourt continued to disrupt the Buckeyes offense. Columbus native Kevin Vannatta scored five straight points for the Bulldogs with under six minutes remaining to tie the game at 64.
Ohio State shot 55 percent to Asheville’s 44 percent.
UNC Asheville: Teague continues to shine in his freshman season. The Cincinnati native posted a career high in points on Thursday and ranks second on the team with 14.3 points per game.
Ohio State: Still a difficult team to figure out. Following a 77-40 win over Youngstown State, coach Thad Matta’s team showed periods of fast-paced offensive execution mixed with several moments with a lack of focus and confusion on both ends of the court. Now finished with nonconference play, OSU will need to find an identity to avoid falling behind in the Big Ten.
UNC Asheville: Travels to play the Radford Highlanders in one week to open Big South Conference action.
Ohio State: Begins the Big Ten season on New Year’s Day in Champaign, Ill., against the Fighting Illini.