Penn State Sends Ohio State Down to their 9th Straight Loss

In a game that saw 20 lead changes, Penn State came away with the win, defeating the host Buckeyes 75-71 to send Ohio State reeling to their 9th loss in as many games. A much better effort for 40 minutes, as evidenced by only 1 turnover and 11 assists, but it is of little consolation as Ohio State still couldn’t break through with a win. Ohio State shot it at a 46% clip, while the Nittany Lions knocked down 52%, including a red hot 10 of 19 from long range, which keyed the victory. Ohio State won the rebounding battle 33-27 and outscored Penn State 11-5 on second chance points but they just could not overcome the hot Penn State three point shooting. Brice Sensabaugh led Ohio State with 20 points and Bruce Thornton added 19, while Justice Sueing chipped in 9 points and 10 boards. Penn State was led by Jalen Pickett’s game high 23. Seth Lundy added 19 and Cam Wynter scored 18 for the victors. 


It was a three point shooting contest early as Penn State utilized three of them, with the final one setting a school record for threes made in a season, to jump ahead 11-8 after 4 minutes. Ohio State knocked down a pair of triples, one each by Bruce Thornton and Brice Sensabaugh along with a Sensabaugh short jumper to keep it close at the first media break. Penn State extended the lead with a free throw, but a pair of freebies by Sensabaugh and a Thornton triple put the Buckeyes up a point. The lead was short lived as Penn State drilled another three to reclaim the lead. Back to back point blank scores extended the Lion lead to 7 before a Justice Sueing banker from the right block stopped the 7-0 run and after 8 ½ minutes, Penn State led Ohio State 19-15. Out of the media timeout, Sueing bagged a free throw to complete the old-fashioned three point play and trim the deficit to 3. A Lion deuce quickly answered, but a Sensabaugh short jumper mid-paint and a Sean McNeil baseline jumper cut the deficit to 1. After 2 Lion free throws dropped, Thornton and Felix Okpara executed a beautiful pick and roll leading the former lobbing to the latter for a dunk. After a defensive stop, Sensabaugh put the ball on the deck and spun to the left block and dropped in a short fade to put Ohio State in front and at the under 8 media timeout, the Buckeyes led 24-23. Two Lion free throws put Penn State back in front, but only momentarily as Thornton’s 15 foot jumper answered. The lead changed hands again on the 4 separate occasions as after a PSU bucket, Thornton bagged a jumper from the right elbow. After another Lion bucket, Okpara dropped in a left handed hook from the left baseline. Ohio State extended the lead when Sensabaugh drilled a three, but back came Penn State, answering with a triple of their own to cut the Buckeye lead back to 1. A transition follow up of a Sensabaugh miss by Sueing put the Buckeyes up three, but right back came Penn State with a triple to tie it. After a Buckeye miss, the Lions regained the lead with a jumper, but an alley oop from Ice Likekele to Okpara ended with a flush by the big fella and at the final media timeout of the half and 1:53 showing on the game clock, the game was tied at 37 and that would be the score as the teams hit the locker room for halftime. The Buckeyes committed no turnovers in the first 20 minutes and outshot the Lions 52% to 46%, with Penn State even due to 6 of 11 from beyond the arc, while Ohio State was 4 of 10 from out there. The Lions had the rebounding edge after 20 minutes with 17 compared to 12 for Ohio State. Brice Sensabaugh led Ohio State with 14 first half points, while Bruce Thornton added 10. Penn State was led by Seth Lundy’s 14 points and Cam Wynter’s 11. 

A pair of three point trips by the Lions, one of the old-fashioned variety, sandwiched around a Sensabaugh score, had the Nittany Lions up 4 in the early moments of the second half. A Thornton jumper cut into the lead, but Penn State answered with a deuce of their own. Sensabaugh drilled a jumper from the stripe, but back again came Penn State, drilling another 3 to extend the lead back to 4. Okpara scored from the left block, drop stepping to his right and put it in off the glass and at the first media timeout, Penn State led 48-46. Penn State went back up 4, before Ohio State utilized the inside out game, with Likekele finding Roddy Gayle for three to get the Buckeyes to within one. Penn State answered again with a three of their own and after a pair of free throws, the Lions led by 6 to match their largest lead of the game. Likekele banked in a short jumper to stop the 5-0 Lion burst. Thornton knocked down 2 of 3 free throws to get Ohio State back to within two and after a defensive stop, Likekele got to the rim off the bounce for two to tie it. The Buckeyes took the lead when Likekele found a cutting Sueing who scored at the rim. The 8-0 Ohio State run ended when the Lions scored at the rim prior to the under 12 media timeout and with 10:59 to play, the game was tied at 57. Penn State took the lead after the Buckeyes turned it over for the first time in the ballgame, but a Sean McNeil triple from the left wing put Ohio State back in front. A Penn State bucket put the Lions back in front, but a Likekele triple banked in at the end of the shot clock to answer. Penn State answered again with a three of their own, but a Thornton jumper put Ohio State back in front and play stopped with an Ohio State timeout and with 6:50 to play and Ohio State leading 65-64. The lead changed hands again after a Lion score and a quick media timeout with 5:14 on the game clock, Penn State was now leading 66-65. Six straight Buckeye misses and a pair of Penn State scores put the Lions up 5 before Sensabaugh muscled his way to the rim for two and at the final media timeout and with 2:12 to play, Penn State had the ball and a 70-67 lead.  After a defensive stop, a Thornton runner dropped high off the window, but an old-fashioned three point play on the other end put the Lions up 4 with less than a minute to play. A Sueing score trimmed the deficit to two and a foul sent Penn State to the stripe. Both free throws dropped as the Buckeyes raced up the floor and after 5 missed three point attempts the game ended with yet another loss. 

Overall, it was a great effort for the much maligned Buckeyes who have been hearing the fan frustration for the last couple months and it gets louder and louder as the losses have piled up.  To add more adversity to this season, Zed Key was ruled out for the year this week and they started 4 freshmen for the second straight game against a group of veteran Penn State players. But, alas, it was not meant to be. It’s really hard to believe in so many ways. The Buckeyes clearly have a lot of talent, but they are very, very young and they just don’t know how to win right now.  This adversity will serve them well in the future and will fuel an offseason of work to make sure nothing like this happens again on their watch. They have not quit on themselves or their coach but it has just not translated into wins. The future is bright and things will get better, but with just 3 regular season games and a Big Tournament left to play, they need to use these experiences to set the stage for a summer of work and look ahead to November.

The Buckeyes will be back in action on Saturday in the Schott, hosting Illinois. Tip time is scheduled for high noon and airing on CBS.

-Jason Harris

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