COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kyle Young had a career-high 14 points and 13 rebounds and No. 18 Ohio State beat Cincinnati 64-56 in the opener for both teams Wednesday night.
Young, a junior forward, made 6 of 7 shots from the floor and the Buckeyes rallied in the second half to spoil John Brannen’s Cincinnati coaching debut.
D.J. Carton added nine points and five rebounds for Ohio State, and Kaleb Wesson had eight points and 11 rebounds. Jarron Cumberland and Keith Williams each had 13 points to lead Cincinnati.
Cincinnati led 26-19 after a slow, rough first half. Ohio State failed to score for the first 7:45 until Young got a breakaway jam off Carton’s outlet pass. Up to that point, Ohio State had missed its first seven shots from the floor as well as its first four free throws while committing five turnovers.
Ohio State tied it at 15 on an Andre Wesson rebound basket. But Cincinnati closed the half on an 11-4 run, with Williams hitting a pair of wide open 3s.
Ohio State went on a 14-3 run to start the second half, with Kaleb Wesson stepping out to hit a pair of 3s. They surged ahead 33-29 with 13:16 left.
Carton had a reverse layup and hit a 3 from the left wing for a 49-43 lead with 7:35 left. A 3 by Luther Muhammad made it 52-43 with 7:11 left. Cincinnati twice got the lead down to two.
But Buckeyes freshman E.J. Liddell scored off a feed from Duane Washington Jr., and Carton hit a pair of free throws to make it 59-53 with 2:16 left.
Cincinnati’s Chris McNeal had a three-point play to cut it to 60-56 with 52 seconds left, and Ohio State’s Washington and C.J. Walker each hit a pair of free throws to help the Buckeyes ride it out.
Ohio State: After a slow start, a good win for the Buckeyes, who were ranked in the preseason AP poll for the first time in five years.
Cincinnati: Brannen led Northern Kentucky to two NCAA Tournament appearances in the last three seasons before he was tapped to replace Mick Cronin, who left UC after 13 years to become the head coach at UCLA. The Bearcats stayed close most of the way but couldn’t finish.
Ohio State senior forward Andre Wesson left with 6 minutes left after being poked in the right eye on a rebound attempt. He did not return.