Second-half burst helps Buckeyes rout Purdue Fort Wayne
By MITCH STACY, AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State got coach Chris Holtmann a blowout win for his birthday, accompanied by a big bouquet of 3-pointers.
C.J. Jackson scored a career-high 25 points and the Buckeyes scored 45 points off 3-point shots on the way to a 107-61 rout of Purdue Fort Wayne on Sunday — which also happened to be Holtmann’s 47th birthday.
Jackson sparked it for Ohio State.
With the Buckeyes leading by just seven points at the intermission, he drained a trio of 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half. It wasn’t much of a contest from then on as Ohio State clamped down on defense and the Summit Conference team wilted.
Duane Washington Jr. scored 20 and Jaedon Ledee had 16 points on 12-of-14 free-throw shooting as Ohio State won for the second time in five days. The Buckeyes beat Cincinnati on the road Wednesday.
John Konchar and Kason Harrell each had 13 for the Mastodons (0-2), who shot just 34 percent from the field. They shot 30 percent in the second half as Ohio State smothered them on defense and the game got out of hand.
Ohio State led 41-34 at the end of the first half on the strength of a pair of late 3-pointers hit 23 seconds apart by Washington. Konchar hit a layup on a fast break as time ran out in the half to keep the deficit at seven points.
“We just weren’t making smart decisions defensively, and that kind of led to bad offense,” Jackson said. “We got a couple of silly turnovers in the first half, and that kind of slowed us down a little bit. We weren’t making as many shots. Later we started being a little smarter with the ball, knocking down those same shots we were taking earlier.”
The Buckeyes cleaned it up in the second half, putting up the team’s highest point total in nearly two years, then sang “Happy Birthday” to Holtmann in the locker room afterward.
The Buckeyes were 15 for 28 from beyond the arc, a 54-percent success rate. The parade was led by Washington, who hit 6 of 9, and Jackson, who was 4 for 7.
It was Ohio State’s best day from the 3-point line since making 17 of 29 attempts against Maryland in January.
Washington’s six 3-pointers tied a school record for a freshman. D’Angelo Russell did it in 2015.
Purdue Fort Wayne: The scrappy Mastodons managed to hang in there until Jackson started raining 3s and the Buckeyes pulled away.
Ohio State: Jackson, the only senior among the starters, is on fire, posting a career high despite leaving the game with about six minutes left. And Ohio State’s young players, particularly Muhammad and Washington, are looking more confident and meshing with the more experienced players — which is exactly why games against overmatched mid-majors are scheduled early in the season.
“Chris has got the Buckeyes playing really good defense right now,” Purdue Fort Wayne coach Jon Coffman said. “You play that kind of defense — and I know it’s only a couple games in — you’re going to have a lot of success. And I’ll attribute our lack of success in the second half to what Ohio State did today.”
TOO EARLY TO TELL
Holtmann said even though his freshmen have been a major presence early, he doesn’t know yet exactly what he’s got.
“It’s way too early in the season to have any real idea where we’re at or make any statement about where we’re at or where another team we play is at,” he said. “We’re just trying to get better with every day in practice that’s in front of us.”
Purdue Fort Wayne: Hosts Manchester on Tuesday.
Ohio State: At Creighton Thursday night.
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