Playing its fifth game in eleven days, Ohio State (18-5, 9-1) drops it’s first conference game to Penn State (14-8, 4-5) 82-79.
Penn State shot lights out from the field, going 58.6% from the field and 79% (11-14) from three-point range, to hand the Buckeyes their first loss.
Keita Bates-Diop, despite being a game-time decision due to flu-like symptoms, again led the Buckeyes in scoring with 25 points. Jae’Sean Tate added 17 points and 10 rebounds. C.J. Jackson scored 12 points and 5 assists while both Kaleb Wesson and Kam Williams each had 10 points.
Tony Carr led the Nittany Lions with 28 points. Lamar Stevens contributed 15 points, Shep Garner added 14.
Penn State led by as many as 12 points twice in the first half before Ohio State cut the lead to just 38-37 going in to the half.
Ohio State took the lead three times early in the second half before a 13-2 Penn State run gave the visitors a 55-45 lead with 12:17 to play.
There were several questionable early second half calls against the Buckeyes by the officials. Jae’Sean Tate, C.J. Jackson, and Keita Bates-Diop were all whistled with fouls early in the second half. Most notably, Bates-Diop was relegated to the bench with 14:41 to play after picking up his fourth foul.
As was the case in the first half, Penn State simply did not miss from three-point range. Every second half Buckeye rally was countered and stopped by a Penn State three.
Ohio State was able to cut the lead to 77-71 with 2:04 to play in the game on a Bates-Diop three.
Andrew Dakich would come up with a steal, getting the ball to Jackson who drove to the basket before dishing the ball out to Bates-Diop for another three, cutting the lead to 77-74 with 1:13 remaining.
Lamar Stevens would miss a jumper for Penn State on the ensuing possession and Ohio State cut the lead to 77-76 off a Tate made jumper with 19.0 seconds to play.
With Penn State having possession, C.J. Jackson was forced to foul Tony Carr, who would convert both free throws to give Penn State a 79-76 lead with 14 seconds remaining.
Ohio State was able to find Bates-Diop on their next possession who hit another three-point shot to tie the game at 79 all with five seconds left.
But Penn State inbounded the ball and was not met with defensive pressure from the Buckeyes and Tony Carr hit yet another three, this time from 30 feet out as time expired to give Penn State the 82-79 victory.
The loss moves Ohio State in to second place in the Big Ten standings, the only one-loss team in the conference. They are one game behind undefeated Purdue, who beat Michigan earlier in the evening. The Buckeyes are two games ahead of Michigan State, who is 6-2 in conference but plays Wisconsin at home Friday night.
Most notably tonight was the second consecutive game in which the Buckeyes struggled for much of the game from beyond the arc. It wasn’t until late in the game that they started making these shots, pulling their percentage up to 47% (7-15 shooting). If the Buckeyes want to keep their surprising Big Ten title run going they’ll need to get more consistent scoring production from outside.
Up next for the Buckeyes is a much needed five-day stretch without a game before returning to action at home against the Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday night at 7:00pm.