College Hoops

Ohio State beats Texas Tech to finish a successful Maui Invitational

WATCH: Ohio State basketball had a whale of a time in the Bahamas

After three games out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the Maui Invitational, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has to be pleased with his team’s showing after a tournament-ending 80-73 win over the No. 21 Texas Tech Red Raiders. The result is a fifth-place finish by the Buckeyes.

Of course, it’d be nice to have won the whole tournament, but to finish 2-1 in such a deep field is something a team with a lot of fresh faces can build on. The Buckeyes rode a massive game from forward Justice Sueing to win one heading back to the mainland.

Sueing, a Hawaiian native, played right at home, scoring a career-high 33 points on a very efficient 12-of-19 field goals that included just 1-of-5 from three-point range, but 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Sueing also had eight rebounds and five assists to stuff the box score and put the team on his back. It was a performance many were hoping for from the veteran and versatile forward, and one that could set him up to be the main playmaker on a team with so many unknowns.

One of the big stories of the game — aside from Sueing’s big day — was Ohio State’s ability to handle the Texas Tech defensive pressure. The Buckeyes turned the ball over ten times but also forced ten turnovers themselves against a team that likes to exert defensive anxiety on teams. OSU also outrebounded a team that prides itself on being physical, 26 to 25 to show that it’s a team that won’t be bullied.

It was a pretty close game throughout, but Ohio State had a modest lead for most of the game and went into halftime with a 42-37 advantage. The lead would never be relinquished despite some mini-runs on both sides. Each time Texas Tech would pull to within four to five points, it seemed like Sueing would make a big play to keep the Buckeyes just out of reach.

Guards Sean McNeil and Brice Sensabaugh were the only other two players that scored in double figures for the Buckeyes with 13 and 10 points respectively.

With the win, Ohio State improves its record to 5-1 and will head back home where the schedule doesn’t get any easier. The Buckeyes will next face Duke at Cameron Indoor next Wednesday in the ACCBige Challenge after it says Aloha from Hawaii.

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