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Ohio State uses balanced attack to dispatch UCLA

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Roddy Gayle Jr. led four Ohio State players in double figures with 19 points as the Buckeyes defeated UCLA 67-60 on Saturday in Atlanta.

Jamison Battle had 14, Bruce Thornton scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half and Felix Okpara scored 10 for the Buckeyes (9-2).

Sebastian Mack topped the Bruins (5-4) with 14 points. Dylan Andrews added 13 and Adem Bona 12.

The Buckeyes took their largest lead, 57-51, on a dunk by Okpara from a lob by Thornton with 2:47 to play in regulation.

Battle nailed the Buckeyes’ first 3-pointer in 15 tries for a 62-56 lead with 46 seconds left. With Ohio State up 65-60, Gayle made a steal and then hit two free throws with 8 seconds left for the final margin.

The game was tied nine times and there were 18 lead changes.

UCLA held a 23-22 halftime lead as neither team distinguished itself offensively in the first half. At the 12:19 mark the Buckeyes led 8-6 and had gone 2:52 without scoring. UCLA wasn’t much better, enduring a 2:09 drought.

The Buckeyes’ scoreless streak reached 4:44 before Gayle nailed a jumper to give them a 10-8 lead.

Nobody struggled more in the first half than Thornton. The Buckeyes’ leading scorer (18.5) was 0-for-8 from the field. He made two of three free throws with 1:47 left for his only points while playing before numerous family and friends from his native Fairburn, Ga.

His first basket on his 10th attempt came at 18:20 of the second half.

Ohio State took a 7-6 lead in the all-time series which soon will enter a new phase. Barring meeting in the NCAA Tournament, this was the last nonleague match for the foreseeable future with UCLA, Oregon, Southern Cal and Washington set to join the Big Ten for the 2024-25 season.

Ohio State is home Thursday to play New Orleans. UCLA is back in action Tuesday hosting Cal State Northridge.

–Field Level Media

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