Ohio State had run through its first five opponents this season by an average margin of victory of 25 points. But instate rival Kent State came into St. John Arena with other ideas Monday night. The Golden Flashes rallied from down 17 points to tie the No. 10 Buckeyes at 48-48 midway through the second half. Order was restored, however, as Ohio State reeled off 17 straight points and pulled away for the 71-52 win.
Center Kaleb Wesson dealt with foul issues, but still led Ohio State with 17 points. Duane Washington Jr. added 16 points and Luther Muhammad chipped in 13 for the Buckeyes. Danny Pippen had 19 points and Antonio Williams scored 17 for Kent State (5-1), which was bidding to become the first MAC team to defeat Ohio State in nearly 25 years. Bowling Green was the last team to do it with a win in St. John Arena on Dec. 22, 1994.
A Muhammad three put the Buckeyes ahead 40-23 with 17:33 left. Ohio State still led 45-32 after an Andre Wesson 3 with 15:13 left. But the Flashes, fueled by one 3 from Pippen and two from Williams, went on a 16-3 run to tie the game at 48-48 with 10:30 left. Ohio State answered by scoring 17 straight points with 11 of those coming at the foul line. Muhammad had the first five of those points as he was fouled on a pair of shot attempts.
For the second year in a row, Ohio State played a game at St. John Arena. St. John served as the home arena of Ohio State basketball for 42 seasons from 1956-57 through 1997-98 before the program moved down the street to Value City Arena. The Buckeyes improved to 7-0 in games at St. John since that move.
OSU goes to 6-1 while Kent falls to 5-1.