OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — C.J. Jackson’s 3-pointer gave Ohio State its final lead with 2 minutes left, and the Buckeyes held on to beat Creighton 69-60 after squandering a double-digit halftime lead Thursday night.
Keyshawn Woods scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the first half as the Buckeyes (3-0) got out to a 37-25 halftime lead, but Creighton (2-1) stormed back to take a four-point lead before fading and losing for the first time in 25 home nonconference games since December 2015.
Duane Washington Jr. added 12 points for the Buckeyes in one of the Gavitt Tipoff Games between the Big Ten and Big East.
Ty-Shon Alexander led the Bluejays with 16 points and Davion Mintz had 12.
The Bluejays wiped out their halftime deficit and led 55-54 on Martin Krampelj’s tip-in with 5:40 left, and it was 60-56 when Mitch Ballock hit a 3 from the corner.
But Washington answered with a 3 of his own, and after Krampelj missed a free throw, Jackson made his 3 from in front of the Buckeyes’ bench.
Kyle Young dunked for a four-point lead with a minute to play. After Luther Muhammad swiped at the ball and it went out of bounds off Mintz’s leg, Jackson made a hook shot in the lane to make it 66-60 with 48 seconds left.
Woods scored 10 points over the last 10 minutes of the first half as Ohio State outscored the Bluejays 27-11 to turn a 14-10 deficit into its 12-point halftime lead.
The graduate transfer from Wake Forest, who totaled 11 points in 51 minutes in the Buckeyes’ first two games, led a first-half bench barrage against Creighton. Reserves accounted for 25 of the Buckeyes’ first-half points.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was accustomed to coaching at the CHI Health Center, having been at Butler of the Big East from 2014-17. He was 3-3 against the Bluejays those years, 1-2 in Omaha.
THE BIG PICTURE
Ohio State: Holtmann is still trying to figure out his best combinations after losing three starters from last season. Woods and his freshmen stood out, and the Buckeyes have a second straight quality road win. They won at Cincinnati last week.
Creighton: Creighton also has a lot of new faces, and it showed grit coming back after the Buckeyes took control of the game late in the first half.
Ohio State hosts South Carolina State on Sunday in the Buckeye Classic.
Creighton plays Boise State on Monday in the Cayman Islands Classic.