ATLANTA (AP) Jamison Battle scored 14 points, including Ohio State's only 3-pointer in the final minute, and Felix Okpara made two key baskets down the stretch to lead the Buckeyes to a 67-60 victory over UCLA on Saturday.

Roddy Gayle Jr. led Ohio State (9-2) with 19 points in the opener of the CBS Sports Classic, a doubleheader played at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. No. 9 North Carolina faced No. 14 Kentucky in the second game.

The Buckeyes won despite making just 1 of 15 shots beyond the arc and a frustrating start that prompted coach Chris Holtmann to punch his whiteboard, resulting in a gash to his right hand.

“It really came down to the last four minutes,” Holtmann said. “It wasn't always pleasing to watch, but I thought our team played well.”

UCLA (5-4) lost its second in a row and fourth in six games. The Bruins, who shot 38% from the field and made just 1 of 9 from 3-point range, were paced by Sebastian Mack with 14 points.

The 6-foot-11 Okpara took control on the inside, dunking off an alley-oop pass from Bruce Thornton at the top of the key with 2:47 remaining to give the Buckeyes a 57-51 lead.

After Dylan Andrews scored for UCLA, Okpara came up big again when Gayle missed a jumper from the baseline. The big man tipped in the rebound even while being fouled by Mack, restoring Ohio State's six-point edge.

UCLA made one last push on Mack's jumper, cutting the gap to 59-56, but Battle swished a 3-pointer with 46 seconds remaining. Gayle knocked down five free throws to finish off the Bruins.

Ohio State bounced back from a loss at Penn State last Saturday with all but one starter scoring in double figures. Thornton had 13 points and Okpara finished with 10.

For UCLA, Andrews scored 13 points and Adem Bona chipped in with 12.

Coach Mick Cronin said he must find more depth for his young team, which started two freshmen and two sophomores.

“Young players back down faster,” Cronin said. “A really, really good team gets better in the second half. We get worse.”


The Ohio State coach was not happy with the way his team started the game.

That led Holtmann to smash the whiteboard he uses to draw up plays, leaving a nasty cut at the base of his right pinkie finger.

“I kind of wished that had not become public,” he said. “We talked about physicality on the ball defensively. I though we were too casual, too loose. I just had a moment of anger and punched the board and split my hand up pretty good.”

Holtmann was bandaged up after the game and said he might need a few stitches.

“I'll be all right,” he said with a smile.


UCLA: Hosts Cal State Northridge on Tuesday and Maryland on Friday to close out its nonconference schedule.

Ohio State: Returns home to face New Orleans on Thursday in the Buckeyes' final game before a nine-day holiday break.


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