OSU junior forward Marc Loving looks to shoot in a game against Air Force on Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio. OSU won, 74-50. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team started conference play on the right foot, as the Buckeyes secured a 78-63 win Wednesday over Minnesota in Columbus.OSU came out firing, as it opened with an 11-0 run, which stunned the Minnesota Golden Gophers to begin play.The Buckeyes’ energy and aggressive play couldn’t be matched over the first 10 minutes of the game, as OSU pushed the early lead to 15. Their momentum halted, however, slowly allowing Minnesota to climb back into the game as OSU’s lead was trimmed to just 37-34 at halftime.The second half was a back-and-forth battle until freshman point guard JaQuan Lyle took over the game. His game-high 13 assists guided the Buckeyes to the victory, continuing the team’s season-high five-game winning streak. The Buckeyes now stand at 9-5 on the season, including a 1-0 mark in Big Ten play.After the game, Lyle credited his teammates for knocking down shots when given the opportunity, and, as a whole, was happy with the way the team has grown over the course of the season.“I think we grew up as a basketball team and we grew together,” Lyle said. “I think that’s the main thing. We’re a basketball team now and there are no longer individuals.”OSU coach Thad Matta said he was pleased with the overall performance, especially when responding to adversity.“I think a month ago we struggled to play ourselves out of bad situations,” Matta said. “And tonight we did a much better job when things didn’t go particularly well for us. We still have a long way to go, I’m not going to lie about that. But guys are making progress, and to see (junior forward) Marc (Loving), who may have struggled a little bit the last two games, play the way he did tonight, that’s a very positive thing for our team.”As Matta noted, Loving returned to early-season form after a few off games. The Buckeyes leading scorer poured in 20 points, while snagging six rebounds.Loving said tonight’s aggressive gameplan was the key to OSU’s success.“Just having an aggressive mentality from top to bottom,” Loving said. “Being on your toes and being aggressive at all points of the game, swinging the ball and just moving the defense from side-to-side to get the best shot possible.”Sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop also continued his stellar play as of late for the Buckeyes, dropping 13 points on a night when OSU shot 51 percent from the field and had three players score in double figures.Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said he was proud of his team’s effort, but ultimately its lack of depth couldn’t keep it in the game.“I think when you’re down by 15 and then to come back it takes a bit out of you,” he said. “When we got in foul trouble that took a lot out of us. I was proud of our fight though. They threw a punch, then we threw a punch, but they threw the final punch to end it.”The Buckeye defense held Minnesota to 36 percent shooting on 21-of-58 from the floor, while OSU shot 51 percent. It was just the fourth time this season it shot north of 50 percent.“It’s a heck of a win for us to start the Big Ten season,” Matta said. “I was pretty pleased with the performance.”The Buckeyes are set to return to action on Sunday to take on Illinois at 3 p.m. in Columbus.