Ohio State Blows a 13 Point Second Half Lead, Falls to North Carolina in OT

23rd ranked Ohio State led by as many as 14 in the first half and seemingly won the game on a Sensabaugh jumper with 2 seconds left, only to see Carolina send it to overtime at the horn and win it in overtime sending Ohio State down to their 3rd loss of the season, defeating the Buckeyes 89-84 in the CBS Sports Classic. Ohio State got 22 and 8 from Brice Sensabaugh and 16 and 9 from Justice Sueing, while Bruce Thornton added 17 and Zed Key scored 11. North Carolina was led by Armando Bacot who recorded a double double with 28 points and 15 rebounds, while Caleb Love and RJ Davis scored 22 and 21 respectively. The win improves North Carolina to 8-4, while Ohio State dropped to 7-3 with the loss.

The Buckeyes scored the first five on a Zed Key triple from the left wing and a Justice Sueing pull up 15 foot jumper. The Tarheels answered, going on a 11-1 run with the lone Buckeye point coming on a Key free throw and at the under 16 timeout, North Carolina led Ohio State 11-6. Out of the timeout a Sean McNeil runner mid lane dropped and after a Tarheel bucket, Brice Sensabaugh grabbed an offensive rebound and scored. Carolina split a pair of free throws, but back came Ohio State as Sueing made a strong move to the bucket and scored mid-paint. After a miss on the other end, Sensabaugh drilled a three from the left point to put Ohio State back in front. Back to back Carolina turnovers led to a pair of Buckeye scores, the first off a spin move and 12 footer from Sueing and the latter in transition by Sensabaugh at the rim and at the under 12 media timeout, Ohio State was enjoying a 9-0 run and leading 19-14. The run ended when Carolina superstar Armando Bacot drilled a pair of free throws. The Buckeyes answered as Roddy Gayle found Felix Okpara who scored off the window and the Buckeyes increased the lead when Tanner Holden drilled a three from the left corner and after a Carolina miss, Sueing scored at the rim and suddenly Ohio State led by 10. More Buckeyes as Holden scored at the rim following a Tarheel miss and Carolina called timeout with 8:31 remaining in the first 20 minutes with Ohio State leading 28-16 and on a 22-5 run. Carolina scored out of the timeout, executing a pretty pick and roll and after a pair of empty possessions each way a Buckeye turnover and foul sent the teams to the under 8 media timeout with Ohio State leading 28-18. Out of the timeout, a pair of Tarheel free throws trimmed the lead to 8, but Bruce Thornton drilled a triple from the left wing to answer and on the next possession, Sensabaugh drilled a three himself and Ohio State led by 14. Carolina wouldn’t go away easily however, scoring the next 7 to cut it back to 7. Thornton’s 12 foot jumper ended the Tarheel run and at the final media timeout of the first half, Ohio State led North Carolina 36-27. The Tarheels scored the next four out of the timeout to get within 5 but Thorton drilled a straight on three to end the run. A Carolina bucket cut the lead back to 6 and with 45 seconds left in the half, Ohio State took a timeout. Sueing took an iso dribble on the left wing and put it on the floor and scored at the rim and after a Bacot dunk on the other end, Sueing drilled a three at the horn and after 20 minutes, Ohio State led North Carolina 44-35. The Buckeyes lead was fueled in large part due to 53% shooting which included 7 of 15 from long range, while holding the Tarheels to just 42% and 1 of 9 from deep. The Buckeyes controlled the glass in the first half, pulling down 21 to 16 for Carolina. Ohio State was led by Justice Sueing’s 13, while Brice Sensabaugh added 10 and 6 rebounds, but 3 fouls. North Carolina was led by a game high 16 from Armando Bacot.

Carolina opened the second half with a 10-2 run forcing Ohio State to take a timeout just 3 ½ minutes in, now clinging to a 46-45 lead. Out of the timeout, Sensabaugh isolated on the right block, hitting a fade away in the middle of the lane to put the Buckeyes up 3. After a Carolina turnover, Okpara scored with an offensive rebound and put back and after a Tarheel miss, McNeil hit a pull up jumper and the Buckeyes were on a 6-0 run. A turnover each way and Carolina took advantage of theirs, scoring in transition to stop the Buckeye run. Sensabaugh answered, taking the ball baseline and finished with a powerful dunk. Another Buckeye turnover led to a Carolina bucket in transition and after Okpara picked up his fourth personal foul, Bacot split a pair of freebies to cut the lead to 4. Back came the Buckeyes with McNeil burning a triple from the left point and at the under 12 media timeout, Ohio State led 57-50. More Buckeyes out of the timeout as Sensabaugh rolled in a fade in the middle of the lane and a Sueing free throw later, Ohio State led by 10 and on a 6-0 run. A quick Carolina triple cut the lead to 7. Following a Tarheel turnover, Thornton drilled a 15 foot pullup jumper and on the next possession, Roddy Gayle put the ball on the deck and scored off the glass. After a Bacot baseline hook fell, Key took the ball on the right block and drop stepped on the baseline and scored with a reverse layup and with just under 7 to play, Ohio State led North Carolina 66-55. 3 Carolina free throws trimmed the lead to 8, but a Thronton floater after breaking the press stopped the run. The Carolina defensive pressure began to cause issues for Ohio State and a 6-0 run later, the lead was cut to 4. Thornton ended the run splitting a pair of free throws, but an old-fashioned three point play on the other end cut the lead to 2 and Ohio State took a timeout with 4:32 to play. A pair of Sensabaugh free throws increased the Buckeye lead, but a Carolina triple answered and cut the lead to 1 and after a North Carolina foul, the final media timeout of the game was taken with 3:36 to play and Ohio State clinging to a 71-70 lead. Out of the timeout, Thornton drilled one of two free throws and the Buckeyes led by 2. Carolina tied it on a dribble drive with 2 minutes to play, but Sueing scored at the rim while being fouled but failed to complete the old fashioned three point play and on the other end a Carolina triple put the Heels up for the first time since early in the first half. Out of the timeout and with the shot clock expiring, Key drilled a triple from the top and after a Carolina score, Sensabaugh elevated in the paint and scored with 2 seconds to play. Carolina took a timeout and inbounded to half court and took another timeout with 1.2 seconds to play. The inbounds pass found Pete Nance just outside the left block and he drilled a turn around, fade away at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

The Tarheels scored the first four of overtime but a runner by Thornton and a foul send him to the line where he bagged the free throw to cut the lead to 1. Four straight Carolina points upped the lead to 5 with just over a minute left in overtime. A Sensabaugh bucket cut it to 3 and after a turnover each way, Ohio State had to foul and two Carolina free throws sealed the deal and the Buckeyes went down with a tough loss.




The veterans of Carolina certainly rattled the youth of Ohio State, specifically Bruce Thornton who struggled to take care of the basketball in key moments of this basketball game. There were a lot of good things in this game, but when Carolina turned up the pressure, Ohio State unraveled and allowed the Tarheels to get back in it. Still, Ohio State seemingly won the game with the Sensabaugh bucket in the waning seconds, but Coach Holtmann surprisingly didn’t guard the inbounder on the baseline, allowing the Tarheels to easily advance the ball to half court, setting up the game tying bucket at the horn. While this won’t go down as a bad loss, it’s certainly one that hurts. The Buckeyes missed the veteran leadership and ball handling ability of Ice Likekele in this one. Both Likekele and Jr guard Eugene Brown should be back for the next game but their veteran presence was missed in a big way in this one. Despite that, there is really no reason they should have walked away with a loss, but that’s what happened and they will have to regroup and move forward. This team will continue to improve and will win a lot of games but will definitely look back on this one as what might have been. The Buckeyes outshot the Tarheels 46% to 44%, but lost the rebounding edge 48-42 and 16 big turnovers to North Carolina’s 13 led to a 27-12 Tarheel advantage in points off those turnovers which was the big reason why the Tarheels escaped with the comeback victory.


Ohio State heads back home for their next ballgame, hosting Maine on Wednesday night in the Schott. Tip time for that one is scheduled for 8:30 PM and airing on BTN.


-Jason Harris

Photo Credit: 247 Sports

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