Despite a sluggish start on offense, Ohio State basketball pulled out a 74-64 win over UMass Lowell on Sunday to improve to 2-0 on the season.

The River Hawks were able to keep the game close and even led by as many as five in the second half. But the game was defined by a small stretch where the Buckeyes took the lead back for good.

“I thought we were able to get just enough stops there late,” OSU coach Chris Holtmann said. “I thought our execution late against their (2-3) zone got a little bit better. I think that has to be a staple for us. We’ll shoot it better than we have these first two games there’s no about that. But our defense has to sustain us.”

Connor Withers fouled Justice Sueing on a fastbreak layup following a UMass Lowell turnover. He also was given a technical foul, eliminating him from the game with a fifth foul. C.J. Walker made two free throws after the technical foul, and then Sueing made two more. All of a sudden, the River Hawks’ 51-49 lead was gone, and the Buckeyes were off.

That was the turning point in a game where the Buckeyes’ offense was out of sync for the first 30 minutes. They went into halftime tied at 33 with five players with two or more fouls and unable to make a shot from 3-point range. They’d miss 11 straight before Duane Washington Jr. finally knocked one down in the second half, followed by Sueing. OSU finished the day 4 of 18 from three.

The River Hawks finished the afternoon making 11 of their 30 shots from 3-point range. Obadiah Noel led that charge with 15 points but made just 5 of his 19 shots. In two games against OSU, he’s scored 30 points on 10-of-29 shooting. He was joined by Allin Blunt and Bryce Daley in double figures with 11 each.

As the superior team from a talent standpoint, Buckeyes needed just a small window, and that turnover midway through the second half provided that. It came at the perfect time for a team that was starting to putting together a solid stretch. UMass Lowell had only five turnovers in the first half but finished the game with 13, which Ohio State turned into 17 points.

Washington led the Buckeyes with 21 and made 3 of 11 shots from three despite missing his first five. Sueing followed with 15 points and was joined by C.J. Walker (13) and E.J. Liddell (11) in double figures.