COLUMBUS — Looking to stay unbeaten, the 10th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes had no issues cruising past Purdue Fort Wayne, 85-46, Friday night in Value City Arena.
Kaleb Wesson led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds, and freshman point guard D.J. Carton added 13 points as the Buckeyes shot 53 percent from the field.
But for as good as Ohio State was offensively against an overmatched Purdue Fort Wayne, the Buckeyes were even better on the other end of the floor.
For the fifth straight game, Ohio State (5-0) was suffocating on the defensive end, holding the Mastodons to just 31 percent shooting. A team is yet to shoot better than 33 percent from the field against the Buckeyes this season.
Ohio State started fast, scoring on its first three possessions to grab an early 7-3 lead, but Purdue Fort Wayne hung tough in the early going. Marcus DeBerry’s three-pointer brought the Mastodons to within two at 9-7 just over three minutes into the game.
C.J. Walker responded with a three-pointer of his own on the following possession to start a 16-0 run by Ohio State that effectively buried Purdue Fort Wayne midway through the first half. Andre Wesson, coming off the bench for the second game since returning from an eye injury, had four points amidst the run, as did freshman E.J. Liddell.
Duane Washington led Ohio State with eight first-half points as the Buckeyes went into the locker room with a 42-25 lead. Ohio State shot 48.5% as a team in the opening period.
Ohio State opened up the second half with threes on four of their first six possessions — two from Kaleb Wesson and two from Walker — to increase the Buckeyes’ lead to 27 points, the largest margin of the night, at 56-29 with 16:18 left in the game.
The Ohio State lead ballooned to 35 after back-to-back smooth finishes by Carton and would swell to as many as 46 points as Chris Holtmann began to substitute freely over the final eight minutes.
Following the game, Holtmann said of his team’s performance, “I was really pleased with our guys’ effort,” adding his team was able to take away the three-pointer from Purdue Fort Wayne, which is its strength.
Asked about his assessment of his team’s energy and attention to detail, Holtmann said, “It can get better,” although he gave credit to his older players for setting the tone for how the team is expected to defend.
Ohio State will be back in action Monday, Nov. 25, when its takes on the Kent State Golden Flashes in St. John Arena. Tipoff for the game is set for 6:30 p.m.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.