The Buckeyes shot a woeful 38.3 percent from the floor and committed 19 turnovers in a 60-56 overtime loss to the Golden Gophers in Big Ten men's basketball action before 12,979 at Value City Arena.
OSU trailed 24-18 at halftime after shooting 28 percent from the floor. The Buckeyes (12-6, 1-3) rallied with a 17-2 run to take a six-point lead down the stretch, only to watch the Gophers (13-4, 3-1) push the game to overtime. OSU had shots to win the game at the end of regulation and to tie it near the end of the overtime, but missed each time.
"I'm sure everybody is going to give you, `Boy, that was ugly,' " said Minnesota coach Dan Monson, whose own team also shot 38.3 percent from the floor and committed 17 turnovers. "But for us, we thought it was pretty, as pretty as can be. To come in here, this is how you have to win."
In Saturday's loss at LSU, OSU hit nearly 56 percent of its shots from the floor. The Buckeyes were 18 of 34 from behind the three-point arc in that game. But against the Gophers, OSU missed its first 11 shots from three-point range and ended up 2 of 21 (9.5 percent) from behind the arc.
"This is one of those games you hope you never have it," said OSU coach Thad Matta, who suffered his first home loss as the coach of the Buckeyes. "Unfortunately, we had it tonight. I thought defensively we played better, but offensively we never had a flow. We got good shots, but they didn't go down for us.
"Give Minnesota credit. They did what they had to do to win the game. They withstood our little run there late in the game."
Ohio State suffered a third straight loss, while Minnesota got back on the right track after a loss to Iowa Saturday snapped its 10-game winning streak.
"We talked a lot about our mental approach," Monson said. "We were really excited to play at Iowa. But we needed to be excited to play today and come in and beat Ohio State. That is a tough step for any team. But they took that challenge. They were very focused today."
Vincent Grier led Minnesota with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
"I have never had a kid come in in his first year and he never takes a possession off," Monson said of Grier. "He plays 42 minutes and he plays very hard. He plays like he practices."
The Gophers overcame the loss of starting center Jeff Hagen, who went down with a sprained knee late in the first half. He will have an MRI on Thursday. Hagen had scored six points early for UM. Dan Coleman added nine points for the Gophers.
"This team has got some deficiencies, but character is not one of them," Monson said.
Terence Dials led OSU with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
"We played good defense, but you can't rely always on shooting a high percentage like we've been doing," Dials said. "When your shots aren't falling, you have to pick it up a little bit more defensively."
Matt Sylvester came off the bench to key OSU's late run. He ended up with 17 points.
"I've been shooting a decent percentage on three-pointers and they've been running at me," Sylvester said. "That lets me put the ball on the floor. They are trying to guard Terence so hard. That opened up the drive for us and gave us a few lanes to the basket."
The Buckeyes trailed 24-18 at halftime after tallying more turnovers (eight) than made field goals (seven). OSU was 7 of 25 (28 percent) from the floor, including 0 of 8 on three-point tries in the first 20 minutes. Each team had scoring droughts of nearly six minutes in the dismal first half.
Minnesota went on a 9-0 run, keyed by three points from Spencer Tollackson, to take a 19-8 lead with 10:16 left in the half. OSU was just 3 of 14 from the field before it went on a 6-0 run, keyed by four points from Dials, to cut the lead to 19-14 with 8:20 left in the half.
OSU then went 5:56 without scoring, but Minnesota was unable to truly capitalize. The Gophers lost Hagen when he injured his leg in a pile-up with Dials with 4:26 left in the half. Minnesota went ahead just 22-14 on a free throw by Grier with 3:05 left in the half.
Sylvester ended the OSU scoring drought with two free throws with 2:24 left. Fuss-Cheatham then tallied OSU's first field goal in over seven minutes with a driving layup to cut the lead to 22-18 with 1:17 left. But Grier answered with a runner in the lane with 55 seconds to give the Gophers their six-point halftime advantage.
Before things got any better for OSU, they got worse. The Gophers grabbed their 35-25 advantage on J'son Stamper's layup off a loose ball with 14:12 left. But that is when the Buckeyes went to work.
Fuss-Cheatham got a three-pointer to go high off the iron and fall in, giving the Buckeyes their first trey of the night in 12 tries. That started a 17-2 Ohio State run. The star of this charge was Sylvester, who scored 11 straight points for the Buckeyes. His three-point play with 7:33 left gave the Buckeyes a 42-37 lead.
OSU twice got the lead out to six points, the last time on Dials' three-point play that made it 49-43 with 4:49 left. But Grier then scored the game's next eight points to give the Gophers a 51-49 lead with 2:50 left. OSU went through a stretch here with six straight turnovers.
"We went to a halfcourt trap that may have caused a couple of those," Monson said. "We won that game at the defensive end, keeping them off balance."
"We didn't see what was going on," Matta said. "Presses hadn't bothered us all year. I don't know the answer. We just were not tough enough with the basketball."
Sylvester finally tied the game with a layup off an inbounds pass from Fuss-Cheatham to tie the game at 51-51 with 55.1 seconds left. Grier then drove the lane, but his off-balance shot missed the mark with 36 seconds left. OSU held for a last shot and Fuss-Cheatham had a great look from eight feet just before the buzzer but his shot hit off the front rim, sending the game to overtime.
"The shot we got could not have been anything better," Matta said. "We had an open five or six footer, whatever it was. But that was typical of our night."
The Gophers jumped ahead 54-51on Dan Coleman's three-pointer 18 seconds into the extra period. Sullinger tied it with a three of his own with 2:55 left. But Grier answered with a driving layup 12 seconds later to put Minnesota up 56-54.
Dials tipped in a miss to tie the game at 56-56 with 51.2 seconds left. But Minnesota took the lead for good when Coleman tipped in his own miss with 26 seconds left.
After a timeout, OSU got the ball inside to Dials. But his turnaround shot from 10 feet in the lane rolled out. Sullinger had a chance to tip it in but couldn't. Minnesota's Aaron Robinson got the rebound and was fouled with 3.6 seconds left. His two free throws gave UM a four-point lead and iced the game.
"I was the first option if I had my man sealed," Dials said. "It just so happened I had my man on my back and I missed it. There is nothing else to say. I thought it was going in all the way. Those are the breaks this team has suffered the last couple of weeks."
Sylvester then took a desperate three-point try at the buzzer. The miss was OSU's 19th from three-point range of the night.
* Dials reached 20 points for the eighth time this year. This was his fifth double-double of the season and the eighth of his career.
* OSU senior guard Tony Stockman, the team's leading scorer at 15.7 points per game coming in, was held scoreless for just the second time in his 108-game college career. He was 0 for 6 from the floor, including 0 for 3 on three-point attempts, in 30 minutes of action. Stockman was also held scoreless against N.C. State as a freshman at Clemson in 2001.
* Likewise, Foster came off a career-high 20-point night where he was 6 of 7 on treys at LSU, only to go 1 of 7 from the floor and 0 for 5 on three-point attempts.
* The 18-point first half was OSU's lowest scoring half of the season, well below the previous mark of 25 points in an 84-65 loss at No. 1 Illinois Jan. 5. OSU's previous low first half in Value City Arena this season was 35 points in a 78-54 win over Portland State Dec. 11.
* The win was Minnesota's first in six tries in Value City Arena since it opened for the 1998-99 season. Minnesota's last win in Columbus was in 1997.
* OSU fell to 86-21 all-time in VCA and 10-1 at home this year (one game was at St. John Arena).
* Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak to OSU and ended a string of eight OSU wins in nine games in the series.
* OSU fell to 0-3 in overtime games this season. Matta is now 4-5 in overtime games in his fifth season as a head coach.
OSU played back-to-back overtime games for the first time since 1981-82. OSU is now 35-51 all-time in overtime game.
* The loss was also just Matta's seventh in 70 home games as a college head coach.
Matta was asked how his team would regroup after a third straight painful defeat.
"I think we have to realize as a collective group that this team can win basketball games," Matta said. "We don't have to play perfect, but we can't ever put ourselves in a position where we beat ourselves. Not getting shots down the stretch and giving up a tip-in to lose the game – we're not a good enough basketball team to do that.
"Matt Marinchick said after the game, `This is all we've got.' To come out and piss one away when we're not tuned in to all facets of the game, it's hard to take."