The Ohio State men’s basketball team defeated the Egyptian national team 72-68 in the first game of a two-game exhibition trip to The Bahamas on Saturday. The Buckeyes will wrap the trip by playing the Puerto Rican national team today at 5 pm There is no live coverage of the game.
Details from the first game were somewhat sparse, although the Ohio State athletic website posted this blog and the Columbus Dispatch had on-site coverage here from reporter Adam Jardy.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtman said last week he wanted to use this trip for his team to come together. It will be a patchwork team with five holdovers, five incoming freshmen and three transfers mixed together.
Here were some of the details from those reports:
* The game with Egypt was played under full FIBA rules with four 10-minute quarters. Egypt led 34-32 at the half before Ohio State surged ahead in the second half. The Buckeyes went ahead 61-51 with five minutes left and held on for the win.
According to the OSU report, Egypt scored nine straight to cut the OSU lead to one point. Goal Wright State transfer Tanner Holden hit a clutch three and freshman Roddy Gayle Jr. drove the baseline for an emphatic slam as the Buckeyes maintained their late lead.
*Holden and freshman Brice Sensabaugh each had 15 points to lead OSU. Gayle added 10 points as well.
* According to the Dispatch, Holtmann determined the starting lineup via a shooting drill in Friday’s practice session. The starters were Holden, Sensabaugh, junior Zed KeyWest Virginia transfer Sean McNeil and freshman Bruce Thornton. Another group of players is expected to start today’s game vs. Puerto Rico.
* Ohio State grabbed the lead for good on a three-point play by Oklahoma State transfer Isaac Likelele that made it 41-39 with five minutes left in the third quarter.
* The freshman Sensabaugh keyed OSU’s run which stretched the lead to 10 points. He hit a jumper after grabbing a rebound from his own miss, he fed Likelele for a layup and hit a three during that critical run.
* According to both reports, Ohio State had problems with the Egyptian team’s size and strength in the paint early in the game before adjusting. The game was officiated by Big Ten officials.
* Holtmann expressed happiness with the lessons learned from his new team’s first outing against an unfamiliar opponent.
“We had a lot of young guys and our new guys out there,” Holtmann told the Dispatch. “Listen, our learning curve is significant this year. We’ve got to find ways to speed it up by the time November comes along and this is one way to do it.”
He added, “This is literally the first step in a thousand steps of a season, but there was some real adversity in a game like this.”
* According to the Dispatch, Oregon product Ehab Amin had 16 points and Louisville product Anas Osama had 14 to lead the Egyptian team.
* In related news, Ohio State is hoping for good news today at 8 pm That is when national top-50 guard Scotty Middleton of Wichita (Kan.) Sunrise Christian will announce his commitment. Middleton is deciding between Ohio State, UConn and Seton Hall.
Middleton will make the announcement on the Instagram page of ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi.
* We will share some of the social media posts from the exhibition game below.