# 3 Ohio State Drops Their First Game of the Year in Minnesota

# 3 Ohio State Drops Their First Game of the Year in Minnesota

3rd ranked Ohio State found life on the road in the Big Ten a little bumpy, dropping their first game of the year, losing to Minnesota in Minneapolis 84-71 to fall to 9-1 and 1-1 in conference play.  Playing without second leading scorer Duane Washington, Ohio State, like every other Big Ten team that has gone on the road this season, heading home with a mark in the L column, making road Big Ten teams 0-13 so far on the season. Minnesota played their best game of the year, and likely will be the best game they will play the rest of the year, was led by a career high 35 from Marcus Carr.  D.J. Carton’s 19 led Ohio State and E.J. Liddell added 14 while Kaleb Wesson chipped in 12 while struggling with foul trouble.

Neither team got off to a particularly good start in the half court as the game went scoreless for the first 2:30 before Minnesota got on the board first, but C.J. Walker quickly went coast to coast for a lay in to tie the score.  The Gophers went up 3 before a Luther Muhammad triple tied the score at 9 with 15:30 to go in the first half.  With the Gophers up 11-9, the Buckeyes scored a quick 5, the first a three off the fingers of D.J. Carton and the latter a 15 foot jumper by E.J. Liddell, both off passes from Kaleb Wesson and Ohio State led 14-11. An 8-0 Minnesota run keyed by a pair of three’s gave the Gophers a 19-14 lead as Ohio State was struggling to get any rhythm in the half court.  A pair of Kyle Young free throws ended the Gopher run, cutting the deficit to 19-16 with 8:28 to go but another Gopher 5-0 run upped the Minnesota lead to 24-16 forcing Chris Holtmann to call timeout with the Buckeyes trailing 24-16 and 7:14 left in the first 20 minutes. A Kaleb Wesson old fashioned 3 point play out of the timeout cut the lead back to 5 momentarily but Minnesota built the lead right back to 8.  The Buckeyes trimmed it to 7 when Muhammad split a pair of free throws and a Kaleb Wesson three from the top cut the Gopher advantage to 4 with just under 4 minutes left in the first half. A quick 7-2 Minnesota run gave the Gophers their biggest lead of the game at 11 but 4 straight D.J. Carton points, 2 from the line and 2 on a slashing lay in trimmed the lead to 7 late.  The Gophers got a bucket with the game clock running short to complete the first half scoring.  The Gophers went into the locker room with a 38-29 advantage as Ohio State was struggling on both ends, turning it over 8 times, while only assisting on 6 buckets, a ratio that they needed to improve upon to get back into the basketball game. Ohio State shot just 35.7% while allowing the Gophers to shoot 51.7%.  Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 8 points and 5 rebounds while D.J. Carton added 7.

The Gophers scored quickly out of the break to extend the lead to 11 but Luther Muhammad drilled a three from the right wing to trim the lead back to 8.  The Gophers kept the pressure on and a 5-0 run had Minnesota enjoying their biggest lead at 45-32 and the Buckeyes in some trouble.  Andre Wesson buried a big three to cut the lead to 9 and the teams hit the bench at the under 16 media timeout with Minnesota leading Ohio State 45-36. An 8-1 Minnesota run that included a questionable 4th foul on Kaleb Wesson on a moving screen forced Chris Holtmann to call timeout with 13:27 remaining and Minnesota running away with it, leading the Buckeyes 53-37. Minnesota bumped the lead to 18, the largest deficit of the season for Ohio State before C.J. Walker buried a three to cut the deficit to 15 but the clock was not Ohio State’s friend as the Buckeyes hit the bench at the under 12 minute timeout.  E.J. Liddell scored on a rebound put back while being fouled and Liddell knocked down the free throw cutting the lead to 12.  After a quick steal by Justin Ahrens, Ahrens hoisted a three that would’ve cut the lead to single digits, but it clanged off the rim and Minnesota made them pay, scoring the next four to get the lead back to 16 and Ohio State was in deep trouble. The Buckeyes trimmed the lead back to 14 at the under 8 media timeout but with only 7:53 to go. Ohio State got the lead back to 12 as Luther Muhammad off the dribble drive found Kaleb Wesson for the lay in.  As soon as Ohio State thought they had a little momentum, Minnesota answered, going on a 6-0 run to lead by 18.  The Buckeyes went on a little spurt, led by D.J. Carton who split a pair of free throws and then scored on a dunk in transition after a steal forcing Minnesota to call timeout with 5:34 to go but still ahead by 15.  A pair of Carton free throws cut the lead to 13 and after a Minnesota miss, a Carton runner cut the lead to 11 and Ohio State called a quick timeout with 4:18 to go in the game. E.J. Liddell scored while being fouled to cut the lead to 9 but Ohio State would get no closer.

Ohio State certainly played their worst game of the year, while Minnesota played their best and playing without Duane Washington certainly affected Ohio State in the half court.  It was just one of those games and they happen in a long season, especially on the road in the Big Ten. Give Minnesota a lot of credit.  They were the better team on this night and it showed.  Ohio State, who hadn’t played in over a week, certainly looked rusty shooting the basketball and that in part is definitely related to being without Duane Washington.  The Buckeyes were dominated on the glass to the tune of 40-27 and just looked a step slow all night.  The shooting stroke wasn’t there offensively and at the same time Minnesota seemingly didn’t miss, shooting 54.4% for the game while the Buckeyes hit on just 38.3%. There will be better days ahead for the Buckeyes and they get to start a new winning streak starting Tuesday night at home.

The Buckeyes get back at it on Tuesday night, hosting SE Missouri State in Columbus.  Tip time is scheduled for 7 PM on BTN.

-Jason Harris

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