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Buckeyes Open Play with 85-67 Exhibition Win Over Walsh
By John Porentas

COLUMBUS, OH - Four players scored in double figures in Ohio State's season-opening appearance, an 85-67 win over Walsh.

Guard JaQuan Lyle, guard Kam Wiliams, forward Kaita Bates-Diop and forward JaeSean Tate scored 14, 13, 12 and 10 points respectively in the win that started painfully slowly but eventually started to look more like a basketball game. 

Both teams suffered from foul problems in the first half and that led to a game that was totally devoid of flow.

"We  talked about it at half time, we couldn't get a run going because of the fouls," said OSU Head Coach Thad Matta. 

"The first half was very odd. There was no flow to the game on both sides. They were fouling, we were fouling."

The Buckeyes compounded that problem with some pretty dreadful free throw shooting.

"We had shot free throws so well during practice," said Matta.  "We shot more free throws than we've ever shot with a basketball team.

"Those were things that kind of slowed our run down. We'd come down and they were making some free throws at the other end."

Add to that a dose of first-game jitters by first-time players Micah Potter, C. J. Jackson, Derek Funderburk and Andre Wesson and you have the makings of a half of basketball that is somewhere south of pretty. 

"We were all pretty nervous out there," said freshman forward Funderburk of all the new players. "I think we all missed our first shot, but after that we got comfortable. It's just like in football. You get your first hit and you get comfortable after a while. The first play you make you get comfortable."

The second half was much better for the Buckeyes, They were sparked by point guard C., J. Jackson who had a game-high six assists and game-high four steals coming off the bench in 16 minutes of play. His defense in particular allowed the Buckeyes to put together a second-half run that allowed OSU to stretch their half time lead of eight points out to as many as 25 in the second half.

"Game ball to C.J." said freshman center Micah Potter. "He gave us a little spark on a big run."

The Buckeye margin of victory could have been larger but woes at the free throw line cost them.  They shot a very respectable 54 percent from the field for the game, but managed just 9-21 for 44.4 percent from the free throw line.

In somewhat of a surprise true freshman Micah Potter earned a spot in the starting lineup over returners Trevor Thompson and David Bell.

"Playing here at Ohio State is a dream come true," said Potter. "Ever since I can remember I've been and Ohio State fan, my family is Ohio State fans. To be able to start is huge, it's been a dream."


* It was a successful start overall with one major exception. Point guard C.J. Jackson missed an totally uncontested layup after making a defensive play to turn the ball over, a miss that his teammates reminded him of after the game. 

"Everything was just so open," said Jackson with a grin. "My legs deactivated to be honest with you," he said drawing a laugh from reporters. "All that matters is we got the win." 

Analysis: First Glimpse - So far so good.

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