Ohio State defeated 21st ranked Seton Hall last night in Fort Myers Tip-Off, Florida. Seton Hall battled back from twelve down in the second half but could not overcome a last-second game-winning shot by freshman Meechie Johnson and fell to Ohio State 79-76. The hard-fought battle between these two projected tournament teams had the feel of a March battle. Johnson hit a 28-foot three-pointer with two seconds left to survive the Pirates' best efforts after Jamir Harries tied the game at 76.
Ohio State was led by All-American forward EJ Liddell scored twenty-eight points and had eight rebounds. He was supported by Justin Ahrens, who was outstanding from three-point range. Ahrens shot five of eight from long range and scored 17 points. The Buckeyes' sharpshooting was a critical factor in the victory as they shot forty-eight percent from the field and fifty percent from downtown.
The game-winning shot from Johnson showed no fear as he had gone 1-for-4 throughout the night. He was able to shake free and rattle home the three.”That kid hit a really tough shot,” Hall coach Kevin Willard said during his postgame radio interview. “We played really good defense there and he takes a 29-footer and makes it”.
Seton Hall was led by Jared Rhoden’s career-high twenty-nine points. Rhoden played like the Preseason First Team Big East player that he is and at times dominated on the court. Coach Kevin Willard feels that Rhoden can still take his game to a higher level than we have observed so far this season. Willard stated, “I don’t think Jared’s playing nearly as good as Jared’s going to play. He’s our emotional leader, but I need him to be the emotional leader where he helps everybody else sometimes, too.”
Bryce Aiken continued his hot start contributing sixteen points in thirty minutes of action. The problem for Seton Hall was there was not another consistent option last night especially after Myles Cale left the game with a groin strain. Kadary Richmond continued his slow start transitioning into the lineup and scored two points.
Game Notes- In the first half the lights went out with 8:59 remaining which caused a slight five-minute delay for the game. Chris Holtmann moves to 6-1 in his career against Seton Hall after spending time coaching Butler. Ohio State will go on to face the University of Florida and Seton Hall will battle Cal on Wednesday evening based on Florida defeating Cal 80-60 in the second game last night.