LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) – Judge Sueing couldn’t have asked for a much better homecoming, especially after sitting out most of last season with an injury.
The Honolulu native scored 23 of his career-high 33 points in the second half to help Ohio State hold off No. 21 Texas Tech for an 80-73 win in the fifth-place game at the Maui Invitational on Wednesday.
Sueing scored 15 straight points for the Buckeyes in the final 10 minutes to push the Red Raiders back every time they threatened to make a run.
“It means a lot, especially because I got to play in front of my family,” said Sueing, who played in the first two games last season before an abdominal injury sidelined him. “The last couple of games I’ve been struggling a little bit just trying to get back into the flow of things because of injuries.”
Ohio State (5-1) shot 52 percent from the field, made all 18 free throws and never trailed in the first two minutes as it finished its visit to Maui with wins in two of three games.
“It’s a great tournament,” Sueing said. “It’s a challenge. That’s what we said going into this, that we were going to get three really good games, and that’s what we got.”
Texas Tech (4-2) got a game-high 21 points from Daniel Batcho and 19 from Kevin Obanor.
The Buckeyes led 41-37 at the half and never let the Red Raiders get close, in large part because of Sueing’s work.
“They have so many players you have to focus on that could get 15 or 20 points,” Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. “Just a very, very explosive offense.”
Obanor drove in a shot from close to pull Tech within 62-58, but Sueing was fouled for a 3-pointer on the Buckeyes’ next possession and made all three free throws.
After Jaylon Tyson hit a 3 from the wing, Sueing recovered his own foul, got fouled and made the free throw to make it 68-61.
Sueing scored on a rebound and dunked after catching a long inbounds pass to put Ohio State up 74-67 and end his personal 15-point streak.
Sueing also had eight rebounds and five assists, and Sean McNeil added 13 points for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State committed 10 turnovers against a Tech defense that had forced a total of 31 in its first two games in Hawaii.
Sueing had entered the game after making just 7 of 24 shots in his previous two games. He was 12-for-19 against the Red Raiders.
“I wanted him to see some shots fall because he’s a better shooter than how he’s been shooting,” Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said, “and I think he needed that. He’s a much better shooter, his numbers show that demonstrate, that what he has demonstrated”.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders, who went 1-2 in Maui, turned in the defensive performance of the year when they held Louisville to 38 points on Tuesday. His trademark defense was understandably softened in his third game in three days.
Ohio State: Winning two of three games in Maui bodes well for a team that returns three starters and has 10 newcomers. Sueing, a transfer from California, picked up the team offensively after freshman Brice Sensabaugh, who came in averaging 17 points per game, scored 10 of his points in the first half.
UNTIL THE NEXT
Texas Tech hosts Georgetown on Wednesday.
Ohio State visits Duke on Wednesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.