Hourglass

Ohio State basketball can’t hold the lead, loses to Rutgers late on the road

It looked like Ohio State had done enough to earn a key Big Ten win, moving up eight points behind, but Rutgers went 10-0 to end the game and thwarted the Buckeyes’ last-second three-point attempt by Justin Ahrens, blocking the shot to come away with a 66-64 victory.

For some reason, finishing games has been an issue for OSU for the past two years. Being up six points behind and going 0-7 on field bases, while turning the ball over twice in the stretch doomed Ohio State in this one. The Buckeyes just weren’t strong and tough enough on the road. OSU was unable to do what it needed to keep pace near the top of the league.

Freshman guard Malaki Branham led Buckeye on offense with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He was especially lethal from beyond the arc, knocking down 4-of-5 from deep to help State of Ohio to extend the lead late in the second period. Liddell was effective but didn’t have a good night from the floor, shooting 6 of 13.

What’s even more confusing is that OSU lost the game despite dying from beyond the arc in the second half. The Buckeyes finished 10 of 18 from 3-point range, passed the Scarlet Knights for the game, and played pretty much even from the line, with turnovers and on the boards, but still lost. Simply; Ohio State picked the wrong time in the game to hit a snag — as the sand in the hourglass was running out.

With the loss, OSU drops to 14-6 overall and 7-4 in the league. The loss was a blow to Big-Ten regular-season title hopes, but there’s still a lot of work to do. The Buckeyes will be looking to get back into the win column on Saturday vs. Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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