COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The Ohio State Buckeyes were upset that they played poorly on national TV against North Carolina.
So somebody had to pay.
Reserve guard Kam Williams scored 18 points and No. 21 Ohio State went on a 26-3 run in the first half to beat Miami (Ohio) 93-55 on Monday night.
”Our biggest cue was we wanted to take our anger that we had from the North Carolina game out on the next opponent,” Williams said. ”Somebody had to be punished.”
Marc Loving had 16 points, D’Angelo Russell added 15 points and eight assists, and Keita Bates-Diop scored 12 for the Buckeyes (10-2), who are 10-0 at Value City Arena and 0-2 against ranked opponents away from home this season.
They fell behind early against No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday and lost 82-74 – similar to the scenario in a 64-55 loss to No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 2. But the Buckeyes, who shot 55 percent from the field, never trailed against overmatched Miami.
”We’ve been angry over the past couple of days,” Bates-Diop said. ”We should have won that (North Carolina) game, we could have won the game, but we didn’t do what we were supposed to.”
Jae’Sean Tate added 10 points for the Buckeyes, who broke the game open by running off 26 of 29 points, with eight players scoring at least two – and no more than four – points each.
Close to being run out of the gym down 34-7, the RedHawks responded with a 15-2 spurt to cut the deficit to 12. But Ohio State scored 10 of the half’s final 12 points to take a 46-24 lead.
After LJ Livingston, who led the RedHawks (3-8) with 17 points, scored to open the second half, the Buckeyes reeled off the next 11 points – five by Russell – to push the lead out of reach.
The players weren’t the only ones who were angry with the loss to the Tar Heels.
”I woke up on Sunday morning and I said, `Hey, I’m going to be in a good mood today,”’ coach Thad Matta said. ”I told the coaches I was going to be really positive. Then when we started watching film I kind of, like, lost my mind.”
The win over Miami gave him some peace of mind.
”Obviously they shot the ball very well,” RedHawks coach John Cooper said. ”But more importantly, they shared the ball. They had 25 assists and only eight turnovers. That’ll make a coach sleep very well.”
Ohio State backup center Anthony Lee went down in the first half and had to be helped off the court. Matta said Lee sprained an ankle but did not have a prognosis.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Cooper began his postgame remarks by wishing reporters happy holidays. When they returned the sentiment, he smiled and said, ”Thanks. Not so much for me.”
Miami (Ohio): The RedHawks have had several big-time players in program history, from center Wayne Embry in the 1950s to shooting guard Ron Harper in the 1980s and versatile Wally Szczerbiak in the late 1990s.
They’ve also had several big wins, including upending Marquette in the first round of the 1979 NCAA tournament, an upset of Arizona in the 1995 tournament and a Sweet Sixteen run in 1999.
Yet one of their most memorable wins ever came against Ohio State.
The RedHawks played at the Buckeyes’ St. John Arena in the opening game of the 1993 National Invitation Tournament but pulled off a 56-53 stunner that had everyone in the state talking.
Ohio State: Both of the Buckeyes’ opponents this week are in-state rivals. With the win over Miami, they improved to 230-76 against other Ohio colleges.
Miami (Ohio) fell to 669-689 against Ohio college teams, including 2-6 against the Buckeyes.
Miami (Ohio): The RedHawks host Division III Capital on Dec. 29.
Ohio State: The second Ohio foe for the Buckeyes this week is Wright State, which visits Value City Arena on Saturday.
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