Junior forward Kyle Young had career highs with 14 points and 13 rebounds to lead No. 18 Ohio State to a 64-56 win over Cincinnati in the season opener for each team in Columbus on Wednesday.
Young’s previously highs were 12 points and eight rebounds.
The game was the Bearcats’ first in Columbus in 98 years.
Jarron Cumberland, who averaged 18.8 points last season, tied teammate Keith Williams with 13 points to lead Cincinnati in the Bearcats’ coaching debut of John Brannen. He came to Cincinnati from Northern Kentucky to replace Mick Cronin, who left after 13 seasons to become the UCLA coach.
Down 60-53, Cincinnati’s Chris McNeal made a three-point play to cut the deficit to 60-56 with 52 seconds left, but the Buckeyes sealed the win with a pair of free throws by Florida State transfer CJ Walker with 30 seconds left.
Freshman D.J. Carton added nine points for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes trailed 26-19 at the half but took a 35-31 lead on Kaleb Wesson’s second 3-pointer of the half and two foul shots by freshman E.J. Liddell for his first college points at the 12:15 mark.
Carton made consecutive buckets, including a 3-pointer, for a 49-43 lead with 7:35 left. A Luther Muhammad trey from the right corner extended the lead to 52-43.
The Bearcats climbed to within 53-51 with just under five minutes to play, but they couldn’t pull even.
Cincinnati’s seven-point halftime margin could have been much greater if it had been able to take advantage of Ohio State’s horrid start. The Buckeyes did not get on the board until 12:20 remained on Young’s dunk after they missed their first seven shots and committed five turnovers.
Ohio State is home to UMass Lowell on Sunday, while the Bearcats host Drake on Monday.
—Field Level Media