The Ohio State men’s and women’s basketball teams joined together and hosted the Buckeyes on the Blacktop event Thursday for the first time since 2016.
Featuring shooting stars and slam dunk contests as well as a five-on-five exhibition, the basketball courts near the Recreation and Physical Activity Center and Ohio Stadium crowded hundreds of students and fans who took in the hoops activities.
Junior forward Zed Key, who participated in the 3-point contest and made six shots in one round, said he was glad to see the turnout for an event planned and organized by both programs.
“I was looking forward to this,” Key said. “Buckeye Nation showed out, and they had good energy.”
Freshman guard Roddy Gayle Jr. garnered the spotlight during the dunk contest, facing freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh in front of four judges — including third-year quarterback C.J. Stroud and former walk-on guard Joey Lane.
Gayle won the dunk contest after catching a lob from graduate guard Isaac Likekele and throwing down a 180-degree slam.
“Definitely officially the best. They all know I’m the best,” Gayle said. “Brice, I think, he’s a terrific dunker. He has terrific hops. He’s a one-leg jumper. I wish I was a one-legged jumper, but he’s amazing honestly.”
Sensabaugh captured the 3-point crown by knocking down 14 shots during both rounds in which he participated. Senior guard Taylor Mikesell battled Sensabaugh in both rounds of the 3-point contest, recording double-digit makes in her showcase.
The event began with a Shooting Stars challenge in which participants had to make a layup, free throw, 3-pointer and half-court shot. Redshirt junior guard Madison Greene — who missed all of last season due to knee injury — knocked off senior forward Tanner Holden in the final round, after advancing past redshirt senior forward Justice Sueing in the opener.
Sueing, who dealt with a groin injury that sidelined him for most of last season, said he enjoyed taking the court and seeing the faces of the fans in the crowd.
“It’s been a minute, especially for me missing last year,” Sueing said. “Having the fans out here, being able to interact with them and just put on a show, have some fun with it. It was great.”
The men’s team closed the event by splitting into Team Scarlet, featuring Gayle and Likekele and Team Gray, being led by Key, Sensabaugh and Sueing.
A 10-minute first half saw Team Gray command a 36-25 lead entering a break, then the second half would finish with an Elam Ending, which shuts off the game clock and sets a target score by adding eight points to the leading team’s total.
Sueing helped Team Gray quickly finish the exhibition, beginning the second half with a 3-pointer and leading to a Sensabaugh dunk. The veteran Buckeye drained a game-sealing 3-pointer before Team Scarlet answered with any points.
The event prefaces the start of the seasons for both the men’s and women’s teams, which begins Nov. 7 against Robert Morris for the former and Nov. 8 against Tennessee for the latter.
Key said although he hasn’t played on a basketball court with double-rimmed hoops like those at the RPAC since he was in his home state of New York, playing with his teammates in front of the campus crowd was enjoyable.
“When we drove the bus over here, there was a lot of people,” Key said. “But I’m glad that we had this event. We never had one of these since I’ve been here, and I’m glad that a lot of people showed up and showed us love.”
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