PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann says Sunday's game against Butler is about the players, not about him.
The Buckeyes (5-1) beat Stanford 79-71 in the Phil Knight Invitational on Friday, advancing to meet Butler in the finals. The Bulldogs beat Portland State 71-69 earlier on Friday.
Holtmann spent three seasons at Butler, taking the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16 last season, before going to Columbus.
"It's not how we would have drawn it up," he said about the matchup. "But it's really about the players and, as much as possible, I want it to be about their players and our players competing. Obviously, it's a very good program and a very good team."
C.J. Jackson had 23 points while Keita Bates-Diop added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Ohio State in the win.
Daejon Davis had 15 points and Reid Travis had 14 points before both fouled out for Stanford (3-4), which led by as many as 10 points in the first half but trailed by as many as 10 in the second.
Stanford closed within 63-57 on Travis' layup with 3:54 left, but it was as close as the Cardinal could get until Oscar Da Silva's jumper made it 70-65 with 46 seconds to go. Ultimately they couldn't catch the Buckeyes.
"One thing I liked best, when I looked into their eyes, I didn't feel a sense of defeat at any point," Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. "There was a belief and a confidence that we were going to find a way to get it done."
Dubbed the PK80, the tournament celebrates Nike co-founder Phil Knight's 80th birthday.
Sixteen teams are taking part in the event, including No. 1 ranked Duke and defending NCAA champion North Carolina. The tournament opened Thursday and will continue on Sunday after a break on Saturday.
Ohio State and Stanford were in the Motion Bracket, playing Friday in the Moda Center, home of the Trail Blazers. The Victory Bracket played at the adjacent Memorial Coliseum.
Stanford dropped to the losers side of the bracket with a 108-87 loss to No. 7 Florida on Thursday night. The Gators face No. 17 Gonzaga in the late game on Friday night.
Ohio State fell 86-59 to Gonzaga in its opener.
The Cardinal led by as much as 31-21 late in the first half, but Ohio State closed the gap with an 11-1 run and the two teams went into halftime tied at 32. Stanford didn't make a shot from the field for the last 4:11.
Bates-Diop led all scorers with 10 points for the Buckeyes at the break.
Stanford scored just six points in the first six minutes of the second half to trail 48-38. Bates-Diop's layup gave the Buckeyes their biggest lead of the game to that point.
Stanford had won all three previous meetings with Ohio State. The last meeting was Dec. 21, 1973, in Lexington, Kentucky. The Cardinal won 68-53.
Butler is now coached by alum LaVall Jordan.
"I really don't think our players are going to do anything differently because I coached at Butler last year," Holtmann said. "They're going to be who they are and I want them to be who they are. This is a players game and it needs to be about the players."
Stanford: Stanford has played three teams from Power Five conferences in a five game span. The Cardinal played defending NCAA champion North Carolina on Monday.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes went into the game 38-38 against teams from the Pac-12 Conference. ... All of Ohio State's four victories were by double figures.
AGAINST THE ZONE
"We had great ball movement against the zone," Jackson said. "We know teams are going to zone us just based on how we've been shooting the ball in the previous games. We were able to hit some shots that we weren't making earlier."
Ohio State will play Butler on Sunday, while Stanford faces Portland State.