No. 5 Ohio State bounces back, rout Southeast Missouri State

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was interested to see how his team would bounce back after suffering its first loss of the season on Sunday at Minnesota.

Holtmann was not impressed, however, after his Buckeyes committed 13 first-half turnovers and led struggling Southeast Missouri State by just nine points at halftime.

But the fifth-ranked Buckeyes pulled it together with a commanding 22-2 second-half run and pulled away for an 80-48 victory over the visiting Redhawks.

“I’m frustrated with the turnovers,” Holtmann said. “I’m disappointed and frustrated, and we’ve got to figure out how to correct it. But I also recognize we had some youth out there, too.”

Kaleb Wesson scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Ohio State (10-1), which dropped two spots in the AP Top 25 after the loss to Minnesota.

“We just weren’t playing Ohio State basketball,” Wesson said of his team’s play at Minnesota, as well as the first half against Southeast Missouri State. “We had to get out of our own way a little bit. We needed to go back to having fun.”

Andre Wesson scored 14 points, while Kyle Young and D.J. Carton each had 10 points for the Buckeyes.

D.Q. Nicholas and Isaiah Gable each had 10 points for Southeast Missouri State (3-8), which shot 27% from the floor (16 of 60) in losing its fourth straight game.

“There’s a reason they are a top-five team,” Southeast Missouri State coach Rick Ray said. “I imagine they will stay that way with all the weapons they have and how locked in they are defensively.”

Ohio State hit 64% of its shots from the floor (14 of 22) in the first half. But the Buckeyes only led 35-26 at the break because of turnovers.

“We didn’t play with enough force and strength in the first half,” Holtmann said. “It was passing, catching, feeding the post, catching with one hand or we didn’t run the right play and we ran into bodies. It’s all stuff we need to work through.”

The teams traded baskets to start the second half before Ohio State went on a 22-2 run. Carton hit two 3s while Luther Muhammad and Kaleb Wesson each hit one during the burst, and Young and Andre Wesson each had three-point plays as the Buckeyes went ahead 59-30 with 11:33 left.

Andre Wesson hit three 3-pointers in a 90-second span to push the lead to 78-40 with 3:15 remaining.

The Buckeyes hope to carry momentum from the second half into Saturday’s showdown with No. 6 Kentucky in Las Vegas.

“I feel like tonight helped us get back in our rhythm,” Kaleb Wesson said. “We hit shots. We were finding the open man in the second half. But you don’t know till you get in those big games and guys are pulling through in those situations.”

BIG PICTURE

Southeast Missouri State: This has been a rough 1-6 stretch for the Redhawks, who have not played a home game since Nov. 22. Southeast Missouri State has one more road game before getting back home against Missouri Baptist on Dec. 29.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes will need to be at their best as they play three ranked teams among their next four games. Getting the injured Washington back to ease the offensive burden will help.

INJURIES

Ohio State played its second straight game without sophomore guard Duane Washington Jr., who was sidelined with an apparent rib injury. Washington is the team’s second leading scorer at 11.4 points per game. His status remains unclear for Saturday’s game against Kentucky.

“I don’t know right now,” Holtmann said. “He is still day-to-day. He could not have played today. He has been out a significant amount. He has not done anything significant in practice since the Penn State game (on Dec. 7).”

Kaleb Wesson also was banged up. He suffered a knee injury early in Tuesday’s game. Later, he sustained a busted lip and a slight ankle sprain.

UP NEXT

Southeast Missouri State: At Southern Illinois on Saturday.

Ohio State: Plays No. 6 Kentucky in Las Vegas on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

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STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.

No. 12 Iowa State holds on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76

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AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes matched his season high with 23 points as No. 12 Iowa State held on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76 on Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (15-4, 6-2 Big 12) moved into a three-way tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats and Texas.

Gabe Kalscheur added 19 points for Iowa State. Osun Osunniyi finished with 16.

Markquis Nowell led Kansas State (17-3, 6-2) with 23 points.

A 3-pointer from Holmes gave Iowa State a 59-49 advantage with 8:12 remaining. Kansas State responded with a 10-1 run to trim the margin to 60-59.

Caleb Grill’s 3-pointer steadied the Cyclones and pushed the lead back to 63-59 with five minutes left.

Free throws by Osunniyi, Grill and Holmes sealed the victory in the final 24 seconds.

The first half featured eight lead changes and ended with Kansas State up 33-31.

A 3-pointer by Kalscheur ignited an early 9-0 run for the Cyclones and helped them build a 19-14 lead. Iowa State made just one of nine 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State was trying to extend its best start to a season since 1961-62.

Iowa State improved to 11-0 at home. The Cyclones have not lost back-to-back games this season.

UP NEXT

Kansas State hosts Florida on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Iowa State travels to Missouri on Saturday.

Georgetown snaps 29-game conference losing streak

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WASHINGTON – Primo Spears scored 21 points and Georgetown snapped a 29-game conference losing streak with an 81-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night.

Georgetown (6-15, 1-9) won its first Big East game since March 13, 2021, ending the longest skid in the history of the conference. The Hoyas also ended a 10-game losing streak this season.

Spears also contributed six assists for the Hoyas. Akok Akok scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four blocks and Brandon Murray recorded 12 points.

Umoja Gibson led the Blue Demons (9-12, 3-7) in scoring, finishing with 24 points, four assists and three steals. Javan Johnson added 13 points.

Spears scored nine points in the first half and Georgetown went into the break trailing 37-36. Georgetown used a 10-0 run in the second half to build a 12-point lead at 75-63 with 1:39 remaining.

Nance scores 21 as North Carolina survives Syracuse, 72-68

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Pete Nance scored 21 points, capped by a dunk with 19 seconds left that put North Carolina in front for good as the Tar Heels pulled out a hard-fought, 72-68 battle with Syracuse on Tuesday night.

Joe Girard hit from beyond the arc to put Syracuse up, 68-66 with 1:28 left, but after Nance hit the first of two free throws to get North Carolina within one, he missed the second free throw and in the scramble to gather in the rebound, the ball caromed toward the end line and Girard dove to save it. Instead, he flicked the ball right to Nance, who dunked for the lead.

Judah Mintz tried to drive the lane for a go-ahead layup but was called for an offensive foul that was upgraded to a flagrant foul. North Carolina took possession and Caleb Love converted three straight free throws to put the game away.

Armando Bacot scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists for North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Love finished with 15 points and five assists.

Girard hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc and finished with 18 points to lead Syracuse (13-8, 6-4). Mintz scored 17 points and had three steals and Chris Bell hit 3 of 5 from deep and finished with 15 points.

North Carolina has a week off before playing host to Pitt on Feb. 1. Syracuse plays at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Green Bay fires Will Ryan after 11th straight loss

Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay fired Will Ryan three days after the Phoenix suffered their 11th consecutive loss.

Ryan, the son of former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, posted a 15-61 record in 2 1/2 seasons. Freddie Owens, who had been an assistant coach on Ryan’s staff, will be interim head coach for the rest of the season.

“UW-Green Bay is committed to continuing its legacy as an outstanding Division I athletics program in the future, and Phoenix men’s basketball needs to help lead the way as we work to elevate all of our programs and be a shining light for this region and beyond,” athletic director Josh Moon said in a news release announcing the move.

Moon thanked Ryan and his family for their contributions to the program and said that “we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Stadium first reported Ryan’s firing.

Green Bay dropped to 2-19 overall and 1-9 in the Horizon League with a 72-38 home loss to Robert Morris.

Ryan was hired by Green Bay after going 14-13 in his lone season as the head coach at Division II program Wheeling (West Virginia). Green Bay went 8-17 in Ryan’s debut season and finished 5-25 last year.

Ryan had taken over for Linc Darner, who went 92-80 and posted a winning record in four of his five seasons.