COLUMBUS — Due to a fire alarm being triggered in a concession area Saturday evening, the Schottenstein Center had to be evacuated early in the second half, but Ohio State (9-3, 2-0) was able to remain focused enough to keep Appalachian State (5-7) at arm’s length in an otherwise casual 80-67 win.
The arena was only emptied for a few minutes before the all-clear signal was given and both teams could return to the court. Prior to the evacuatorial oddity at the 17:47 mark of the second half, the Buckeyes led by as many as 17 points, but when the game resumed, the Mountaineers were almost immediately able to cut the lead to just nine points.
Even though the game had resumed, it didn’t appear as though Ohio State was quite ready to get back to action. The Buckeyes snapped out of it quickly enough thanks to six layups over a four-minute stretch, building the lead back up to 17. A three-pointer from point guard C.J. Jackson then made it 67-47 and the game was effectively over.
Ohio State had four players score in double figures — Jae’Sean Tate (19), Keita Bates-Diop (18), Kaleb Wesson (16), and Kam Williams (11). Bates-Diop added eight rebounds, three blocks, and four steals.
Neither team shot well from three-point territory, with the Buckeyes making just 3-of-14 and Appalachian State even worse at 3-of-19. Credit Ohio State for hitting the 80-point mark with such poor shooting from deep.
Jae’Sean Tate led all scorers with 19 points and did it on 9-of-12 shooting. He was all around the basket and driving with aggression, but control. He attacked the rim as well as he has all season. He was consistent through both halves, scoring nine points in the first and 10 in the second. Tate graduates from Ohio State on Sunday.
The evacuation of the Schottenstein Center was due to an exhaust fan that stopped working in one concession stand, which then allowed smoke to pour through an air return through an air handler. The smoke detector in that air handler then went off as it was designed to, which triggered the evacuation order. Everybody was evacuated from the building in a quick and orderly manner with absolutely no injuries or damage to the building itself.
“It has to be what we are about. I think our guys recognize we don’t have a huge margin for error. I think they recognize people appreciate seeing them play this way. That is the expectation for us. We have to practice that way consistently. It builds muscle memory and creates good habits. You just go do it when you see a ball laying there.” — Head coach Chris Holtmann on Ohio State’s hustle this season.
The Box Score
- This game marks the first meeting between Ohio State and Appalachian State. The Buckeyes now hold a 1-0 record over the Mountaineers and an 8-3 record over teams representing the Sun Belt Conference.
- The game was delayed with 17:47 (2H) for 20 minutes due to a fire alarm in the arena.
- The team is now 2-0 when C.J. Jackson, Kam Williams, Kaleb Wesson, Jae’Sean Tate, and Keita Bates-Diop start for the Buckeyes.
- Ohio State is 7-2 when leading at the half.
- Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop will graduate tomorrow, December 17. Tate is graduating with a degree in Sport Industry and Bates-Diop with a degree in Economics.
- The game marked the first time that Chris Holtmann has coached against Appalachian State. He is now 1-0 against the Mountaineers.
- Jae’Sean Tate led the scoring effort with 19 points for the Buckeyes
- Tate now has 1,254 career points. He is now ranked number 33 among all-time leading scorers at Ohio State, passing Ronnie Stokes (1,240).
- Keita Bates-Diop netted 18 points and tied a team-high eight rebounds.
- Bates-Diop recorded a career-high four steals and a season-high three blocks.
- Bates-Diop went a perfect 6-6 from the line.
- Kaleb Wesson recorded eight rebounds, a career-high for him and tied the team-high for this game.
- Wesson is now third on the team in rebounds with 54.
- C.J. Jackson led the team with six assists. He had eight points, two rebounds, and two steals.
[Jae’Sean Tate photo courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com]