Ohio State Comes From Behind to Defeat Notre Dame

The 22nd ranked Ohio State basketball Buckeyes went on the road for the first time on the young season and came from as many as 11 down in the second half to defeat Notre Dame 90-85 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge to move to 4-0. In a game of runs, it was a big run by Ohio State midway through the second half that turned the tide and led to a big Ohio State win. E.J. Liddell led five Buckeyes in double figures with a double-double consisting of 19 points and 12 rebounds.  Justice Sueing and C.J. Walker each added 16 and Duane Washington scored 13 and Justin Ahrens added 12 on four 3-balls.  With the Buckeyes facing an 11 point deficit and 15 minutes remaining, Ohio State cranked up the defensive intensity, and became the aggressor on the offensive end to grab a lead less than 6 minutes later and only trailed once more, briefly at the 5:39 mark to pull out a gutsy win.

It was a half of runs as Notre Dame took an early 6-2 lead with a pair of threes as Ohio State lacked fluidity in the half court early.  Ohio State figured it out quickly however, storming back to grab the lead with 3 straight triples of their own from Justice Sueing, Duane Washington and C.J. Walker. Back to back three’s from the Irish put them back in front by a point in a wild first 6 minutes of action. Another Notre Dame bucket preceded a Kyle Young jump hook to halt an Irish 8-0 run and cut the lead to 14-11 before four more Fighting Irish points forced Chris Holtmann to call timeout with the Buckeyes trailing 18-13 and 11:23 remaining in the opening half and Notre Dame on a 12-2 run. Justin Ahrens buried a 3 to get the Buckeyes within a deuce and after a pair of E.J. Liddell free throws went down, the game was tied at 18 with 10 minutes to go in the half. Notre Dame would answer with a 7-0 run to jump back out in front, but back came the Buckeyes. Musa Jallow hit a floater in the lane off a nice pass from Liddell to stop the Irish run and start one of their own. Ahrens in transition got his man in the air, adjusted with one dribble and buried another three from the left wing and Ohio State was within a pair.  After a Notre Dame miss, Washington hit a highly contested fade away three from the top to put Ohio State back on top 26-25 and Notre Dame called timeout with Ohio State on an 8-0 run. Four straight from the Fighting Irish ended the Buckeye run and gave Notre Dame the 3 point lead and after 3 free throws each way, Sueing put the ball on the deck and got to the rim to cut the lead to 1. After a Notre Dame bucket, Ahrens found the bottom for three from the right wing to tie the score and at the final media timeout of the half, the score was deadlocked at 34 with just under 3 minutes remaining. That’s where things would come unraveled for the Buckeyes as a pair of turnovers keyed a late 8-0 Irish run, six of which came with Walker on the bench with two fouls, to give Notre Dame a 42-34 halftime lead. The Buckeyes shot just 38% in the first 20 minutes despite hitting 7 of 15 from beyond the arc, while Notre Dame hit a blistering 50% from the field. Ohio State was often limited to one and done on offense as the Irish dominated the backboard in the first half, leading by a margin of 21-15. Justin Ahrens led the Buckeyes with 9 off the bench, while Justice Sueing added 7.

Walker got the second half scoring with a running scoop shot at the rim less than 2 minutes in to cut the deficit to 6. After a controversial foul call on Walker boxing out a Notre Dame big, an old-fashioned 3 point play out of an inbounds play underneath ballooned the Irish lead to 9. Walker drilled a triple from the left wing to cut the lead back to 6 and got the game to within 4 after Walker knocked the ball loose and Washington picked up the loose ball and raced to the other end for a lay up. A score each way preceded an Irish triple and at the first media timeout, Notre Dame was on top by 7. A Kyle Young free throw cut the lead to 6, but Notre Dame hit yet another three to go back up 9. The Irish got the lead to 11 after a pair of free throws before Ohio State went on a 7-0 run of their own, capped by a Jimmy Sotos three to cut the lead to 4. After a bucket each way, the Irish went back up 6 at the under 12 media break, with the Irish up 59-53. Justin Ahrens cut the deficit to just 3 when his jumper from right wing for 3 rolled down and after an Irish bucket, Washington found Jallow slipping behind the defense for a lob and dunk to cut the lead back to 3. After a Notre Dame miss, Washington found Liddell cutting down the right side of the lane for a lay in and Notre Dame called timeout with their lead sliced to just 1 and 9:03 on the game clock.  A pair of Walker free throws gave the Buckeyes a 1-point lead and on a 19-5 run to storm back from 11 down to take the lead with just over 9 minutes to go. Notre Dame tied the score with a free throw and at the under 8 media timeout, the game was tied at 62. A pair of Liddell free throws put the Buckeyes up 2 with 7:42 to go. After a score each way, Jallow got to the rim for a score while being fouled and completed the three-point play to put Ohio State up five and at the final media timeout, Ohio State led 75-72. An Irish triple out of the timeout tied the score, but Duane Washington Jr answered with a three to put the Buckeyes back in front three. A pair of Irish free throws cut the lead to one, but a rebound put back from Liddell while being fouled and completing the three-point play put the Buckeyes up 4. Back came Notre Dame.  A three cut the lead to one and Notre Dame called a quick timeout with just under 2 minutes to go and Ohio State leading 81-80. Out of the timeout, Sueing got to the rim for a score to put Ohio State back up 3. After a Notre Dame miss, the Buckeyes were content to use all of the shot clock.  With the shot clock expiring, E.J. Liddell crossed over and faded away at the free throw line and stuck the jumper to put Ohio State up 5 and just under a minute to go. A pair of Irish free throws cut the lead to 3 and after an inbounds pass caught Washington in a trap, the Buckeyes called timeout, leading 85-82 with just 41 seconds to play. Sueing split a pair of free throws to put the Buckeyes up 4 and Ohio State called timeout with 35 seconds on the clock and Notre Dame possessing the basketball. Notre Dame got a bucket at the rim while being fouled and after the free throw, the margin was just 1. The Buckeyes got the ball inbounded to Walker and as he split the defenders in the backcourt, he was fouled with 18 seconds remaining. Walker, a 92% free throw shooter, bagged both free throws to put the Buckeyes up 3. As Notre Dame scrambled to get a shot, the ball was knocked out of bounds off the Irish turning it over and Walker buried another pair of free throws to end it as the Buckeyes escaped with a big road win.

Whenever you go on the road for the first time against a quality opponent like Notre Dame, you just never know what you are going to get and the second half Ohio State put together was about as good as you could ask for. A road win is so important in terms of growth of a basketball team and Ohio State will gain a lot of momentum from this type of win. The Buckeyes dictated the tempo and pace in the second 20 minutes and got in a rhythm offensively. Ohio State’s depth showed up in a big way in this basketball game.  The bench, in particular Musa Jallow and Justin Ahrens were critical to the comeback.  Ahrens hit some big shots, especially in the first half, and Jallow’s length on defense made things difficult in the half court for Notre Dame.  Notre Dame is a quality basketball team and to go into their house and come away with a win should not be understated in any way. This will be a big confidence builder for this group and a certain NCAA tournament resume booster when you start looking at Quadrant 1 wins. They will enjoy this one and get back to Columbus tonight to practice in preparation for the next one on Sunday afternoon.

Ohio State gets back at it on Sunday afternoon, hosting Cleveland State in the Schott. Tip time is scheduled for 4PM to be aired on BTN.

-Jason Harris

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