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Ohio State loses third consecutive game, second straight at home in 70-67 loss to Minnesota

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The slide continues.

Ohio State has now lost three straight games after suffering its worst loss of the season, a 70-67 loss to a Minnesota team that entered the day as the only Big Ten program without a conference win. The Buckeyes started 7-0 at home, but have now lost back-to-back games at the Schottenstein Center for the first time in two seasons.

Team

1

two

FINAL

OHIO STATE

35

32

67

MINNESOTA 37 33 70

Ohio State’s effort was uninspired early on, as Minnesota led for most of the first half and went into the locker room two points clear. But the Buckeyes fought back in a slow opening frame to retake the lead over the Gophers in the second half. It didn’t last long, though, as Minnesota took control shortly thereafter, opening up a double-digit lead.

The Buckeyes tied with 8.6 seconds to fall behind several Brice Sensabaugh clutch plays, but ultimately failed to complete the comeback. A controversial foul call on a Bruce Thornton block allowed the Gophers to hit the game-winning free throw with less than two seconds left on the clock.

Zed Key returned to action after missing most of the last two games with a shoulder injury, and despite not starting the game, the Buckeyes’ starting center ended up recording 30 minutes and scoring 10 points before all was said and done. But even with Key on the ground, 6-foot-11 Gopher forward Dawson Garcia caused trouble for the Buckeye defense all night. Garcia lost 12 points in the first half alone and finished with 28 for the game.

Despite boasting one of the nation’s elite offenses in terms of adjusted efficiency, the Buckeyes had their second consecutive performance in a losing effort. Ohio State shot just 37.5% from the field on Thursday to deliver its worst shooting night of the year.

first half

It was a slow start for the Buckeyes, who made just two of their first 10 shots, as Minnesota took an early two-possession lead. Chris Holtmann called his first timeout before six minutes had passed in an attempt to jumpstart his team, but the Gophers continued to hit shots. At the 12-minute mark, they’ve mounted a 19-10 lead.

Ohio State scored eight of the next 10 points after that, but just as it looked like the Buckeyes had found their rhythm, they allowed Garcia to continue on the other end. The big guy Gopher caught fire to score 12 straight Minnesota points in just over three minutes of play, keeping the Buckeyes at bay in the process.

Season scoring leaders Brice Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing struggled to get off the ground as Ohio State shot 35.3% from the field in the first half. Minnesota, which entered the game with the lowest-scoring offense in the conference, shot 55.6 percent.

But Ohio State stuck around to get within striking distance and a quick 6-0 run by Sean McNeil evened things up in the final minute.

Minnesota responded with the final score of the half to go into halftime at 37-35 in hostile territory. The Gophers led for 16:33 of the first 20 minutes.

OHIO STATE

STATE

MINNESOTA

67

SPOTS

70

24-64 (37.5%)

FGM-FGA (PCT.)

27-54 (50%)

6-13 (46.2%)

3pm-3PA (PCT.)

7-22 (31.8%)

13-15 (86.7%)

FTM-FTA (PCT.)

9-16 (56.3%)

9

ROTATION

9

39

TOTAL REBOUNDS

32

14

OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS

4

25

DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS

28

13

BANK POINTS

10

3

BLOCKS

6

5

ROBBING

3

5

ASSISTANCE

12

Second time

Two first threes by Bruce Thornton provided an early spark for the Buckeye offense, and even as Garcia and the Gophers continued to knock down shots, Ohio State managed to tie the game at 15:38 and 14:21.

Sensabaugh didn’t start the second half for Ohio State, but 22 seconds after entering the game for the first time in the period, he grabbed his own rebound and converted one-and-one. The free throw put the Buckeyes up 51-50 with just under seven minutes to go and Minnesota called a timeout. The lead was Ohio State’s first since the opening drive of the game.

The Gophers quickly stole that momentum from the Scarlet and Grays over the next few minutes as they embarked on a 7-0 run to take a two-possession lead as halftime reached the halfway mark. While the Buckeyes missed seven of eight shots during that stretch, Minnesota went up to 10 unanswered points en route to a nine-point lead with 7:40 to go.

At the 5:15 mark, Minnesota scored 14 of the last 16 points on the ball game to open up a double-digit lead for the first time in the entire game. Ohio State launched full-court pressure against the Gophers to try to generate extra possessions, but still had significant ground to make up for the delay.

Ohio State cut the Gopher lead to four points on a runner by McNeil with 2:21 to go, and a 3-pointer by Sensabaugh with 31 seconds to go made the game two points. Minnesota missed the one-and-one front end on the other end, and Sensabaugh was fouled on Buckeye’s next possession to tie the game at the free throw line.

But after Thornton was called for a foul on what looked like a clean block with 1.7 left, Minnesota hit one of two free throws and the Buckeyes drove the ball out of bounds on a full-court pass that effectively ended the game. .

game notes

  • Zed Key (shoulder) was listed as a game-time decision before kickoff, but entered the game at the 17:05 mark as Ohio State’s first man off the bench. Key missed all of Sunday’s game at Maryland and nearly four minutes of losing at Purdue last week.

  • Eugene Brown made his first start of the season with Ohio State employing five starters with no center against Minnesota. Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Brice Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing were also named in the starting lineup.

  • Ohio State has won its previous three games with the Gophers since March 2021. The Buckeyes beat Minnesota, 70-45, in the teams’ last meeting on February 15, 2022.

  • Chris Holtmann has won five of his last eight games against the Gophers since taking over as head coach of Ohio State in 2017.

  • Minnesota entered the game as the only Big Ten team without a win in conference play.

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