COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — JaQuan Lyle scored 17 and Jae’Sean Tate added 14 and 11 rebounds as Ohio State routed Western Carolina 66-38 in another tuneup game on Monday night.
Kam Williams added 13 points and Trevor Thompson had 10 for Ohio State, which is 4-0 to start the season but has gotten away with some sloppy play over lesser opponents. The Buckeyes shot just 41.8 percent from the floor Monday, but outrebounded Western Carolina 44-33.
“On the defensive end, we played very good. We got stops,” Lyle said. “But on the offensive ends we just (weren’t) there mentally.”
The Buckeyes trailed 4-2 early before opening up the game with a 9-0 run and cruising from there. Western Carolina (1-4) shot just 27.5 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers.
“I thought defensively we were as sound as we’ve been in a long time,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “On the flip side, we had possessions where we’re not thinking the game, we’re not making the easy play, we’re not making the easy read. We’ve got to get better at that.”
Haboubacar Mutombo led the Southern Conference team with 11 points, and Marc Gosselin had nine points and 14 rebounds.
The Buckeyes dominated inside, scoring 36 points in the paint, compared with just 10 for Western Carolina.
“We’re going to keep building, keep winning, keep moving in the right direction,” Williams said.
Ohio State led 32-18 at the half on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor by Tate and eight steals by the Buckeyes. Lyle was 4 for 4 from the foul line in the half.
“For us to have a chance in this ballgame we needed to shoot the ball with a little consistency,” Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter said. “We had 11 turnovers in the first half, and that hurt us a little bit. We can’t give away possessions. Ohio State is too talented to do that. You’re not going to win too many ballgames shooting 27 percent.”
Western Carolina: The Catamounts got to put their game up next to a more-talented Big Ten team before starting the conference season.
Ohio State: The only thing Ohio State can hope to get from games like this is improvement. Western Carolina will be one of the worst teams the Buckeyes play this season. Matta said his team still needs work.
“We weren’t as connected as we need to be, we weren’t as sharp,” he said.
Ohio State starting forward Keita Bates-Diop sat out with a sprained ankle he suffered Thursday in the win over Providence. Matta said he was out of the mobilization boot but he’s day to day. Williams started in his place.
Western Carolina: The Catamounts travel to Jackson, Mississippi, to face Jackson State on Saturday.
Ohio State: The pre-conference home stand continues Wednesday night against Jackson State.