Ohio Battles, Falls To Ohio State, 79-69

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Ohio’s comeback effort came up short Tuesday night, as No. 10 Ohio State defeated the Bobcats, 79-69, at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio got off to a slow start in the first half, trailing 9-0 in the first five minutes, and the Bobcats found themselves down, 40-28, at halftime. They managed to get back into the game in the second half, and Ohio head coach Jim Christian had a simple explanation for how they did it.

“We got more stops,” said Christian, whose team outscored Ohio State, 41-39, in the second half. “We played harder and got easier stops.”

With 6:20 remaining in the game and the Bobcats trailing by 14, Ricardo Johnson secured a rebound and finished the and-one opportunity to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 11 at 63-52. After an Ohio State made free throw, Columbus native Nick Kellogg drained a 3-pointer to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to single digits at 64-55. Kellogg had 21 points against his father’s former team.

Stevie Taylor, who played extremely well in his hometown of Columbus, followed Kellogg's 3-pointer by converting an and-one layup to cut Ohio State’s lead to six points. The junior point guard finished the game with a career-high 21 points against Ohio State. Taylor was satisfied with his play, but he keeps looking at the bigger picture.

“I felt like I played well, but at the end of the day, we did lose and we need to improve," Taylor said.

With 4:03 left in the game, Maurice Ndour, who finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, gathered a Taylor miss and put it back in to cut Ohio State’s lead to five, but that was as close as Ohio got to tying the game.

The Bobcats struggled early against Ohio State’s defensive pressure, as they were held scoreless until 14:28 remained in the first half when Taylor got the team on the board with a mid-range jump shot. 

“There isn't a better team defensively in the country [than Ohio State], especially on the perimeter,” Christian said. The Buckeyes forced 14 Ohio turnovers, five of which came from Ndour.

Ohio struggled to stay out of foul trouble on the defensive end of the floor, as the Bobcats committed a total of 34 personal fouls, while Ohio State committed 21. Ndour, Jon Smith, Johnson, Treg Setty and T.J. Hall all fouled out.

Aaron Craft led Ohio State with 18 points on 14-of-18 shooting from the free-throw line. Amir Williams and Sam Thompson also contributed on the scoring end for the Buckeyes, with 14 and 12 points, respectively.

The Bobcats will look to get back on track Sunday when they take on Valparaiso in the Convocation Center. Tipoff for the home game is at 2 p.m.