Robert Morris men drop season opener to Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Playing its first game under its new coach, Ohio State looked invigorated in front of its home fans as it picked up its first win of the season against Robert Morris.
Keita Bates-Diop had 19 points and 11 rebounds to help the Buckeyes beat the Colonials, 95-64, on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
“Like good players and good teams, they take advantage of you when you're relaxed or you don't have the proper urgency,” Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole said. “And I think every time we did that, (Bates-Diop) took complete advantage.”
Kam Williams scored 16 points, Kaleb Wesson added 13 and seven rebounds and Musa Jallow scored 11 points, including three dunks.
Williams hit a 3-pointer during a 14-2 run that gave Ohio State an 18-8 with 12 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the first half and the Buckeyes led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
“Ohio State started to build a lead, and then unfortunately we reverted a little bit to trying to make a home-run play, trying to make that eight-, nine-, 10-point play, and those things don't happen,” Toole said.
Matty McConnell and freshman Koby Thomas scored 22 points apiece and combined to hit 7 of 13 from 3-point range for Robert Morris.
The overmatched Colonials struggled to hit shots and deal with Ohio State's size. The Buckeyes shot 60 percent from the field, outscored the Colonials, 66-18, in the paint and outrebounded them 51-23. Robert Morris shot just 35 percent from the field.
Jae'Sean Tate, who led the Buckeyes in scoring last season at 14.3 per game, finished with seven points and seven rebounds. He had six of Ohio State's 19 turnovers. Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said his team's 19 turnovers were his “overriding thought” following the 31-point victory.
“They forced us into some things, and then we had some foolish plays as well,” Holtmann said.
After averaging just 64.4 points last season and losing Isaiah Still, its top scorer, the Colonials are still looking for consistent scoring. They next play Monday at Grand Canyon.