On a night when JaQuan Lyle deferred to his teammates more than ever, Marc Loving eventually returned the favor.
In his first Big Ten game, Lyle made a career-high 13 assists as Ohio State withstood a mid-game run before pulling away from Minnesota for a 78-63 win Wednesday night at Value City Arena. With Loving and Lyle together for the postgame news conference, the duo was asked why the Buckeyes — who had a season-high 24 assists on 29 field goals — had shared the ball so well.
Loving nudged Lyle to his right and said with a smile, “You had 13. You answer.”
After leading by as many as 15 points during the first half, the Buckeyes (9-5, 1-0 Big Ten) fell behind for the first time when Minnesota (6-7, 0-1) opened the second half on a 5-0 run to take a 39-37 lead with 18:58 remaining. The Buckeyes regained it on a pair of Keita Bates-Diop free-throws with 16:21 left, but it was still a one-point game at 45-44 when Lyle took control.
The freshman assisted on the first five baskets of a 13-2 Ohio State run that made it 58-46 with 9:07 remaining.