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Men’s Basketball: No. 15 Ohio State moves forward to Youngstown State after close weekend win

Ohio State sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson (34) attempts a layup during the second half of the game against Minnesota. Ohio State won 79-59. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo Editor

Ohio State knows it has work to do after its two-point win against Bucknell on Saturday.

After allowing the Bison to make 40 percent of its 3-point attempts, turning the ball over 13 times while giving up 11 points off turnovers and allowing nine fastbreak points, head coach Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes are moving forward, learning what they can from each game as the season continues.

Holtmann said his team has a growth mindset after each game Ohio State plays, judging success by each possession and learning from the possessions that did not go in favor of his team.

“Thank God it happened after a win, but if you can really appreciate that experience and learn from it, then it will be well worth while,” Holtmann said. “That’s why you schedule games like that because they really challenge us in a lot of areas.”

This is the same mindset the players have as Ohio State moves forward to take on Youngstown State on Tuesday.

“It didn’t hurt us in the loss column, but we have to be smart enough and focused enough to know that just because one game didn’t affect us, it can happen any other time,” senior guard C.J. Jackson said.

Projected Starters

No. 15 Ohio State (9-1, 2-0 Big Ten)

G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 15.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.4 apg

G — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 8.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.3 apg

F — Kyle Young — Sophomore, 7.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.1 apg

F — Andre Wesson — Junior, 7.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 apg

F — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 14.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.3 apg

Youngstown State (4-8)

G — Garrett Covington — Sophomore, 12.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.4 apg

G — Darius Quisenberry — Freshman, 9.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.6 apg

G —Devin Morgan — Junior, 9.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.9 apg

F — Naz Bohannon — Sophomore, 6.6 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 3.6 apg

F — Olamide Pederson — Freshman, 4.3 ppg, 4 rpg, 0.2 apg

Coming off a season in which the team had a record of 8-24, winning six of 18 games in Horizon League play, Youngstown State had nowhere to go but up heading into the 2018-19 season.

Through 12 games, the Penguins have shown slight improvements from last season, averaging 78.1 points per game, shooting 41.6 percent from the field with 42.3 rebounds per game.

Youngstown State, the No. 322 team in the country according to KenPom, has lost four of its past five games, but won its last time out, defeating Binghamton 58-48 on Saturday.

In his second season as the head coach at Youngstown State, Jerrod Calhoun has developed a fluid lineup, with eight players on his roster that have started at least one game for the Penguins this season. Holtmann described the Penguins as deep, utilizing different weapons to establish explosive offensive outputs.

The offense is led by sophomore guard Garrett Covington, who leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.8 points per game and shooting 46 percent from the field. He is also a threat defensively, leading the team with 22 steals, 12 more than any other player on the roster.

Despite not being the biggest player on the roster, 6-foot-6 and 230-pound sophomore forward Naz Bohannon has been the main leader on the boards for the Penguins, averaging 9.8 rebounds per game, 4.4 of which are offensive boards.

Youngstown State, on the season, has won the battle on the glass, averaging 42.3 rebounds per game, 4.5 more than their average opponent this season.

Unlike Bucknell, 3-point shooting has not been the main source of offense for Youngstown State, who, as a team, is making 31.1 percent of its attempts from deep. Off the bench, junior guard Kendale Hampton has been the team’s biggest deep threat, making 27-of-65 3-point attempts and averaging 9.5 points per game, third-best on the team.

Defense has been the biggest problem for the Penguins this season. The team allows an average of 82.2 points per game, with opponents shooting 46.3 percent from the field this season. Youngstown State has allowed opponents to score more than 100 points three times through its first 12 games.

Ohio State takes on Youngstown State at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

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