The Ohio State men’s basketball team kicked off the weekend with a blowout of Cleveland State on Friday night.
Playing at St. John Arena for the first time in nearly eight years, the Buckeyes throttled the Vikings 89-62.
Second-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann, who showed up for postgame interviews wearing a Buckeye football jersey, said he enjoyed the retro night at the Buckeyes’ old home and revealed such games could become an annual event.
He was also happy to see his team improve to 6-0 on the season.
By the time the student section started a spirited rendition of, “We Don’t Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan,” with five minutes to go in the first half, the Buckeyes were in control of the game.
CSU closed to within seven on Dontel Highsmith’s 3-pointer with 2:17 on the clock, but that was as close as the Vikings would get the rest of the way.
Musa Jallow hit a pair of free throws to end the run, and C.J. Jackson’s layup pushed the lead back to 11.
It was nine at halftime and 18 by the time four minutes had ticked off the clock in the second half.
Ohio State’s largest lead was 30 with nine minutes left.
By then, Buckeye fans could start turning their full attention to the 115th edition of The Game between Ohio State and Michigan.
Kaleb Wesson led the winners with 19 points and six rebounds.
Jackson added 17 points while Andre Wesson had 11 and Luther Muhammad tallied 10.
Ohio State leads Cleveland State 38-29 at halftime.
The Buckeyes never trailed in the first half and led by as many as 14.
C.J. Jackson led the home team with 10 points in the first half.
Kaleb Wesson added nine points while Kyle Young and Luther Muhammad had six apiece.
The Buckeyes shot 46.9 percent from the floor while limiting the Vikings to 34.4 percent.
Before the Ohio State football team takes part it a historic rivalry across the street Saturday, the basketball Buckeyes are going full-on nostalgia with a return to St. John Arena.
At 8 p.m., Ohio State is set to host a men’s basketball game at the arena for the first time in nearly eight years, an 85-60 win over Western Carolina on Dec. 12, 2010.
Tomorrow; tonight pic.twitter.com/TnGARKpNtO— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 23, 2018
Yes, it’s still hot pic.twitter.com/Xp28upw2Zy— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 23, 2018
Still wooden pic.twitter.com/i4QV6IQeLI— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 23, 2018
The undefeated Buckeyes will take on Cleveland State (2-3).
Built on 1956, St. John Arena was the home of the Buckeyes until 1998. They moved across the Olentangy River to the Schottenstein Center for the ‘98-99 season.
Ohio State was 426-151 during that span and is 5-0 in games played here since they left.
SJA was the home of the Buckeyes for four Final Four teams -- the 1960-62 squads led by Middletown legend Jerry Lucas and the 1968 team led in scoring by Belmont High School grad Bill Hosket Jr. -- and nine Big Ten championship squads.
Still reppin Greene County pic.twitter.com/09ywQOZmJ7— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 23, 2018
The 13,276-seat arena has remained an active part of campus, hosting wrestling, volleyball, fencing and gymnastics as well as multiple NCAA women’s basketball tournament games.
Prior to football games, it is also the site of Skull Session, allowing fans to pack into the place to watch the marching band warm up.