CHICAGO — C.J. Jackson scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, and No. 15 Ohio State handed UCLA its third consecutive loss with an 80-66 victory Saturday.
Kaleb Wesson had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Buckeyes (11-1), who have won five in a row since its only loss of the season last month against Syracuse. Kyle Young scored 11 points, and Keyshawn Woods had 10 assists.
Ohio State got its second win at the United Center this season in the opener of the CBS Sports Classic. The Buckeyes also beat Illinois 77-67 on Dec. 5 at the Chicago Bulls’ longtime home.
Kris Wilkes had 18 points and seven rebounds for UCLA (7-5), which was coming off consecutive losses to Belmont and Cincinnati. Jaylen Hands had 13 points and nine assists, and Cody Riley finished with 10 points.
Ohio State struggled against UCLA’s 2/3 zone for much of the first half, but the Buckeyes started to find some holes in the Bruins’ defense after the break. After Prince Ali’s layup got UCLA within one with 18:35 left, Ohio State responded with an 8-0 run.
Andre Wesson, Caleb’s brother, began the decisive stretch with a free throw and closed it out with a 3-pointer that made it 43-34 with 16:33 to go. Woods and Young also scored during the spurt.
UCLA pulled within four on three occasions over the next couple minutes, but it was too inconsistent offensively to catch Ohio State. The Buckeyes then put the Bruins away with an 11-1 run that included an impressive alley-oop dunk by Young off a pass from Woods from mid-court.
Ohio State: Coach Chris Holtmann likely will spend some upcoming practice time on the team’s zone offense, but the Buckeyes are rolling along quite nicely. They shot 48.4 percent (15 for 31) from the field in the second half after getting off to a slow start offensively.
UCLA: Coach Steve Alford is searching for answers after the Bruins sputtered down the stretch once again.