Kaleb Wesson had 15 points and seven rebounds as Ohio State held off host Cincinnati 64-56 on Wednesday in the season opener for both teams.
Jarron Cumberland had all of his game-high 22 points for Cincinnati in the second half. His 3-pointer with 59 seconds left cut Ohio State’s lead to 60-56 with 59 seconds left after the Bearcats trailed by 16 with six minutes left.
C,J. Jackson (13 points) then made a layup with 29 seconds remaining to put the Buckeyes up 62-56, and he added two free throws with 10 seconds to go.
Freshman Luther Muhammad had 11 points and Kyle Young scored a career-high 10 points for the Buckeyes.
Cincinnati had won its past 26 games in Fifth Third Arena. It was the first game at the facility since an $87 million renovation began in March 2017 at the conclusion of the season. The Bearcats played their 2017-18 home schedule at BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky.
Ohio State, leading 27-18 at halftime, opened the second half making its first four field-goal attempts, including a 3-pointer by Andre Wesson for its biggest lead, 38-22, with 15:26 to play.
Cincinnati pulled to within 11, but the Buckeyes pushed the margin back to 16 with under six minutes left. The Bearcats rallied within 59-53 on a jumper by Cumberland with less than two minutes to go.
Ohio State leads the all-time series 7-4.
The schools, less than 120 miles apart, had not played against each other at an on-campus site since the Bearcats won 33-17 on Dec. 10, 1921, in Columbus. That was also the last time they had met in regular-season play. The last meeting in Cincinnati was an Ohio State 35-13 win on Jan. 3, 1920.
The programs will open the 2019-20 season in Columbus.
—Field Level Media