CLEVELAND (AP) — Duane Washington Jr. hit two free throws in the final minute and finished with 14 points, helping No. 20 Ohio State hold off UCLA 77-70 Saturday at the CBS Sports Classic.
Zed Key had 11 points and six rebounds and CJ Walker scored 10 points for the Buckeyes (6-1), who bounced back from a 70-67 loss at Purdue on Dec. 16. Neither team led by more than six points until the final minute.
UCLA (5-2) ended a five-game winning streak. It built a 54-48 lead on Johnny Juzang's 3-pointer with 12:35 left. Cody Riley scored 15 points and Juzang had 13 for the Bruins.
Eugene Brown III nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner to put Ohio State in front for good at 66-63. The freshman made another 3 from the same spot with 4:27 remaining to extend the Buckeyes’ advantage to 69-65.
Tyger Campbell's free throw pulled UCLA within 73-68 with 2:46 left, and neither team scored again until Washington's free throws with 51 seconds left made it a three-possession game.
Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell had nine points and three rebounds in his return after missing two games with an illness unrelated to COVID-19. The sophomore, who leads the team on both categories, fouled out with 7:21 left.
The Buckeyes led 39-38 at halftime behind seven points apiece from Liddell and junior Musa Jallow. Juzang and junior Jules Bernard each had eight points for the Bruins.
Ohio State was initially scheduled to play No. 22 North Carolina, while UCLA was paired up with Kentucky. The matchups were changed Wednesday by promoter Intersport to align the opponents with the most similar COVID-19 testing protocols.
The Tar Heels beat the Wildcats 75-63 in the first game of the afternoon. No fans were permitted inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which hosted the event for the initial time.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have only left their home state twice, winning 90-85 at Notre Dame on Dec. 8 and losing 67-61 at Purdue on Dec. 16. That will change as Big Ten play picks up.
UCLA: The Bruins lost their season opener at San Diego State but won their next five contests by a combined 101 points. Ohio State was the first ranked opponent that UCLA has played.
Ohio State: Hosts Rutgers in its second Big Ten game on Dec. 23.
UCLA: Plays its first Pac-12 road game against Oregon on Dec. 23.
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