Justice Sueing leads Ohio State past Texas Tech in Maui


LAHAINA, Hawaii — Justice Sueing may never leave his home state again.

The Ohio State forward, a sixth-year player playing his third game in three days at the Maui Invitational, was mostly solid if unspectacular on his return to Hawaii. Sueing made his last impression with a loss to San Diego State and a one-sided win over Cincinnati. Sueing finished the game for fifth at the Lahaina Civic Center with a career-high 33 points, and Ohio State (5-1) gave No. 21 Texas Tech (4-2) an 80-73 loss.

After scoring 17 points in his first two games, Sueing opened the game with a dunk, drawing frequent fouls on the Red Raiders and helping Ohio State keep Texas Tech at bay. The Buckeyes led all but 1:49 and took the lead for a good 3:34 of the game, answering every attack the Red Raiders threw at them.

Complaints were everywhere. His put-back of a Sean McNeil 3-point Heves at the bottom of the shot clock brought the lead back to seven points in the final two minutes, and after Texas Tech drew again within five minutes, Sueing broke free for a wide-open slam dunk play on the inbounds to put the shoyu sauce on the chicken – his favorite home meal.

He added eight rebounds and five assists while shooting 12 for 19 from the floor and hitting all eight of his free throw attempts.

Honolulu native Sueing flew out. He opened the game with a dunk against Kevin Obanor after a scheduled play, played a pass from Key after diving for a loose ball, then collected a Key miss and hit to give him Ohio State’s first six points and the his team’s first lead to bestow the game at 6-5.

West Virginia transfer Sean McNeil, who had played six career games against Texas Tech over the past three seasons, moved on from there, scoring nine straight points including consecutive 3-pointers and when Sueing scored on another offensive rebound, the two combined to give Ohio State a 17-7 lead and fuel a 10-0 run.

Freshman Brice Sensabaugh’s 3-pointer with 11:46 at the half pushed the lead to 23-10, the biggest of the half for the Buckeyes. But with the score 28-17 after a Sensabaugh baseline jumper moments later, Texas Tech’s sizable contingent of fans clamored and the Red Raiders began to charge. Obanor pulled a technical flop on Roddy Gayle and was also fouled by Key, giving him three free throws that he attempted to pull within eight points.

There was some momentum for Texas Tech, encouraged when Daniel Batcho scored on a tip-in baseline game with just a second left on the shot clock to draw the Red Raiders within 31-25 and when Sean McNeil of Ohio State was booed for a personal foul after he pushed Batcho into a quick break that resulted in a three-point possession that gave Ohio State a 33-31 lead.

The Buckeyes responded and pushed it back to six points when Sensabaugh scored on an out-of-bounds game with 48 seconds left, and when Pop Isaacs missed at the other end, Ohio State had a chance to extend their advantage before halftime. Instead, Sensabaugh was called for an illegal screen with 5.4 seconds left, and De’Vion Harmon’s layup on the buzzer gave Ohio State a 41-37 lead.

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@Adam Jardy

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