Keita Bates-Diop scored 20 points as No. 13 Ohio State shook off a sluggish start and remained unbeaten in Big Ten play with a 64-59 victory over Nebraska Monday night at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Bates-Diop scored 14 points after halftime and made 8 of 16 shots as Ohio State (18-4, 9-0) overcame a 4-of-15 start from the field and shot 44.2 percent. The Big Ten’s top scorer recorded his ninth 20-point game of the season, including his fifth in the last seven games.
Jae’Sean Tate added 17 while C.J. Jackson and Kaleb Wesson contributed 12 apiece as the Buckeyes also surpassed last year’s win total.
Nebraska’s James Palmer Jr. led all scorers with 34 points but had little help. The next leading scorer for the Cornhuskers (14-8, 5-4) was Isaac Copeland, who scored eight points.
Palmer surpassed his previous career best of 25 and shot 11-of-18 while equaling a career-best with five 3-pointers.
Nebraska shot 38.9 percent and also missed 21 of 29 3-point attempts. Copeland and Glynn Watson Jr. were a combined 3-of-16 from the floor.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann also became the first coach in 95 years to win his first nine Big Ten games. The last coach to do so in his inaugural season was Iowa’s Sam Berry in the first 11 games in 1923. The record of 12 straight wins was set by Walter Meanwell at Wisconsin in 1912.
A dunk by Bates-Diop with 9:06 left put Ohio State up 46-41 but Palmer hit consecutive 3-pointers in an 8-0 Nebraska run to take a 49-46 lead with 7:09 left.
There were four lead changes over the next three minutes before Bates-Diop hit a layup through traffic that made it 55-54 Ohio State with 4:09 left.
Ohio State never trailed after Bates-Diop’s final points.
Palmer surpassed 30 points by hitting two foul shots with about 2 1/2 minutes left, but Tate hit a layup to clinch the win with 68 seconds left.
—Field Level Media