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Ohio State loses third straight 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 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 consecutive games at Schottenstein Center for the first time in two seasons.

Team

1

2

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 to the locker room with two points. But the Buckeyes fought through a slow opening frame to regain a lead over the Gophers in the second half. It didn’t last long, however, as Minnesota took control soon after, eventually opening up a double-digit lead.

The Buckeyes tied with 8.6 seconds to go behind several clutch plays from Brice Sensabaugh, but ultimately couldn’t complete the comeback. A controversial foul on a Bruce Thornton block allowed the Gophers to hit the game-winning free throw with less than two seconds remaining on the clock.

Zed Key returned to action after missing most of the last two games with a shoulder injury, and although he didn’t start the game, the Buckeyes’ starting center was injured recording 30 minutes and scoring 10 points before it was all said and done. But even with Key on the ground, Gopher’s 6-foot-11 forward Dawson Garcia caused problems for the Buckeye defense all night. Garcia dropped 12 points in the first half and finished with 28 for the game.

Despite possessing one of the elite offenses in the nation in terms of adjusted efficiency, the Buckeyes turned in their second straight performance in a losing effort. Ohio State shot just 37.5% from the field Thursday to become its worst shooting night of the year.

First half

It was a slow start for the Buckeyes, who hit 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 get his team back on track, but the Gophers kept pounding. By the 12th minute they had taken a 19-10 lead.

Ohio State scored eight of the next 10 points after that, but just when it looked like the Buckeyes had found their groove, they allowed Garcia through to the other end. The Gopher big man caught fire to score 12 straight Minnesota points in just over three minutes of playing time, keeping the Buckeyes at bay in the process.

Season leaders Brice Sensabaugh and Judge Sueing both struggled from the floor as Ohio State shot a combined 35.3% from the field in the first half. Minnesota, which entered the game with the weakest offense in the conference, knocked down 55.6% of its shots.

But Ohio State fought back to stay within striking distance and a quick 6-0 run from Sean McNeil tied things up in the final minute.

Minnesota responded with the final halftime score to enter the halftime 37-35 in hostile territory. The Gophers had a lead for 16:33 of the first 20 minutes.

OHIO STATE

STAT

MINNESOTA

67

POINTS

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-ALE (PCT.)

9-16 (56.3%)

9

SALES FIGURES

9

39

TOTAL BOUNDS

32

14

OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS

4

25

DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS

28

13

BENCH POINTS

ten

3

BLOCKS

6

5

STOLEN

3

5

ASSISTANCE

1 2

Second part

Two front threes from Bruce Thornton provided an early spark for Buckeye’s offense, and even as Garcia and the Gophers continued to knock down shots, Ohio State managed to tie the game at 3:38 and 2:21 p.m.

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 a one-and-one. The free throw put the Buckeyes up 51-50 just under seven minutes into the half and Minnesota called a timeout. The lead was Ohio State’s first since its first hit of the game.

The Gophers quickly swept away that momentum of the scarlet and gray over the next few minutes as they raced 7-0 to take a two-possession advantage as halftime reached half-time. race. While the Buckeyes missed seven of eight shots in that streak, Minnesota drove it to 10 unanswered points en route to a nine-point advantage with 7:40 left.

At 5:15, Minnesota had scored 14 of the last 16 points in the baseball game to open a double-digit lead for the first time in the entire game. Ohio State threw an all-court press on the Gophers to try and generate some extra possessions, but still had plenty of ground to make up late.

Ohio State cut Gopher’s lead to four points over a McNeil runner with 2:21 left, and a 3-point Sensabaugh with 31 seconds left made it a two-point game. Minnesota missed the forward on a one-on-one at 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 appeared to be a clean block with 1.7 remaining, Minnesota hit one of two free throws and the Buckeyes kicked the ball out of bounds on an inbound pass on all the pitch that effectively ended the game.

Game Notes

  • Zed Key (shoulder) was listed as a game-time decision before tipping, but entered the game at 5:05 p.m. as the first Ohio State man to come off the bench. Key missed all of Sunday’s game at Maryland and all but four minutes of Purdue’s loss last week.

  • Eugene Brown made his first start of the season as Ohio State hired a centerless starting five against Minnesota. Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Brice Sensabaugh and Judge Sueing were also named incumbents.

  • Ohio State has won its three previous matchups with the Gophers dating back to March 2021. The Buckeyes beat Minnesota, 70-45, when the teams last met Feb. 22. 15, 2022.

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

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

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