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12/18 Big Ten Recap: Buckeyes Rally Over Lowly Youngstown State

It wasn’t pretty early, but Ohio State took care of business down the stretch against Youngstown State.

NCAA Basketball: Youngstown State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

In another light night of Big Ten basketball, Ohio State and Iowa both hosted mid-majors in relatively sloppy wins that looked alright by the time the final buzzer rang.

Let’s see how the night unfolded for the ranked Buckeyes and Hawkeyes.

Game of the Night

#15 Ohio State Buckeyes 75, Youngstown State Penguins 56

It wasn’t a pretty start tonight for the Buckeyes.

Youngstown State opened the game with a 9-0 run and held a 14-2 lead seven minutes in. At the end of the first half Ohio State shot 24.1% from the field, made 1 of 11 three pointers and had to rely on a 10-0 free throw advantage to keep the game within three points. It wasn’t until 17:02 remaining that the Buckeyes took their first lead. After that it was all Ohio State down the stretch, though, as they scored 53 points in the second half and eventually cruised to a 19 point victory at home against the Penguins.

It was a huge night for forward Kaleb Wesson, who made 10 of 14 field goals and led the Buckeyes in scoring with 31 points. C.J. Jackson and Luther Muhammad were the only other players for Ohio State to reach double figures, both scoring 11 on the night.

While the first half was an impressive performance for Youngstown State, things fell apart in the second. They actually shot better in the second half, making 40.9% of their field goals, but only had 22 attempts in the second half. In comparison, Ohio State made 70.4% of their shots in the second half (a nice improvement over the 24.1% they shot in the first) and ran away with the game down the stretch.

The Rest

#23 Iowa Hawkeyes 78, Western Carolina Catamounts 60

In the second game of the night the Hawkeyes opened up a double figure lead in the first half against the Catamounts and didn’t look back as they cruised in the second half. While the game wasn’t particularly close after the opening minutes, the 18 point win stemmed more from Iowa’s defensive efforts and their ability to get to the line.

In what was the biggest difference in tonight’s game, Iowa was able to get to the free throw line 37 times to keep the offense rolling. The Hawkeyes didn’t shoot horribly from the field, making 46.9% of their field goals, but they did struggle from three, making only five of their 18 attempts. The sizable free throw advantage (37-18), mixed with forcing 26 turnovers, was enough for Iowa to take down the Catamounts. Tyler Cook led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting.

Western Carolina shot 48.8% from the field, 43.8% from three and actually out rebounded the Hawkeyes. But the free throw differential (Iowa made 27 free throws compared to Western Carolina’s 11), mixed with a whopping 26 turnovers, was more than the Catamounts could handle.