FORT MYERS – Ohio State sophomore guard Meechie Johnson hit a three pointer to give Ohio State (4-1) a 79-76 win over Seton Hall (3-1) in the Fort Myers Tip-off Classic. Johnson’s three came with just two seconds left on the game clock.
Johnson’s game winner capped a competitive and entertaining game that saw both teams dominate at times. Seton Hall held the advantage in the early going of the first half and led by five at 24-19. That lead was erased when E.J. Liddell scored five unanswered points on a two point basket and a three pointer to tie the score at 24 with 7:28 remaining on the first half clock. The Buckeyes then opened up lead of as many as seven points before the half ended with OSU in front 40-35.
The Buckeyes continued to lead through most of the second half due largely to a hot night from the three point line. The Pirates were slow to close out OSU shooters and OSU was able to take advantage by knocking down open threes. For the game OSU made 11 of 22 three point attempts for 50% from long range. Seton Hall meanwhile made just 5 of 23 for 22% from behind the arc.
OSU led by 12 with under 12 minutes remaining in the game but Seton Hall would not go quietly. The Pirates turned up the defensive pressure and had success driving the basketball and scoring in the lane and getting to the free throw line. They chipped away at OSU’s lead to finally tie the game on a fast break layup with just 15 seconds left on the clock.
The Buckeyes inbounded and got the ball to Johnson for a wide open three as the clock wound down. Johnson made the game winner with two seconds remaining. Seton Hall’s last desparation shot careened wildly off the backboard and OSU walked away with a hard-fought victory.
E.J. Liddell led the Ohio State scoring with 28 points. Justin Ahrens added 17, 15 of which came on 5 of 8 shooting from three point range. Kyle Young was OSU’s only other double figure scorer with 12 points that included 7 of 8 shooting from the free throw line.
Seton Hall was led by forward Jared Rhoden who scored a game-high 29 points. Guard Bryyce Aiken added 16 for the Pirates.
OSU had 13 assists while Seton Hall had just four. OSU shot 48% from the field, Seton Hall 38%. Both teams were very effective from the free throw line. Seton Hall knocked down 23 of 27 attempts from the line. OSU made 22 of 25.