No. 15 Buckeyes Cage Cats

Vermont found itself trailing No. 15 Ohio State by just four with 15 minutes remaining Monday night.

Then Michael Redd finally started making some shots.

With Redd scoring nine of his 19 points in a 17-2 second-half run, the Buckeyes rolled to a 74-51 victory.

"In the second half when we got close, Redd really took over the game," Vermont coach Tom Brennan said. "At that point, they remembered they were Ohio State. And we remembered we were Vermont."

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  • Redd had hit just six of his first 24 shots from the field in Ohio State's opening loss to Notre Dame and the first half against the Catamounts.

    "We needed a win," Redd said. "It didn't matter who it was. It could have been a high school or elementary school team."

    Vermont (0-4) hit seven of its first nine shots of the second half to pull within four, with Tony Orciari scoring 10 of the points in the 18-9 surge.

    However, Redd scored the next seven points for the Buckeyes, starting the streak with a 3-pointer from the left wing.

    "Except for a couple of breakdowns and lapses, we played pretty good defense," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "I was happy to see Michael break out and be a little more assertive offensively."

    The pressure defense by Ohio State (1-1), playing its first game in 13 days, forced the Catamounts to miss 12 consecutive shots from the fiel as the Buckeyes built a 61-42 lead.

    Vermont scored only 11 points in the final 13 minutes.

    Redd topped the Buckeyes with 19 points, while Scoonie Penn had 18 and Ken Johnson finished with 12 points. Johnson added five blocked shots and six rebounds.

    "I think Johnson is the best-kept secret in the country," Brennan said. "His presence really bothered us. We wanted to go inside and he just totally negated that."

    The Buckeyes hit 26-of-53 shots from the field, with Penn and Redd combining to go 12-of 27. Redd hit his last three attempts.

    That was marked improvement for Ohio State. In a stunning 59-57 loss to the Fighting Irish at home in the Preseason NIT two weeks ago, the Buckeyes shot just 33 percent with Penn and Redd combining to go 10-of-33.

    "We are still searching for our game identity," O'Brien said. "Contrary to what a lot of people believe, we have a lot of players we're trying to break in and incorporate with the guys who have been around here a couple of years. It's a work in progress and an ongoing situation with us."

    Orciari scored 16 points and Tobe Carberry had 10 for the Catamounts, who have already lost to a pair of the teams in last year's Final Four. They opened their season with an 89-52 loss at national champion Connecticut.

    Vermont, playing before its largest crowd ever, made just four of its last 24 shots from the field. The crowd of 19,100 at Value City Arena was big enough to make it the second-largest city in Vermont.

    Prior to the game, a banner commemorating Ohio State's trip to the Final Four last spring was raised to the rafters at the arena by 1998 co-captains Neshaun Coleman and Jason Singleton.

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