For the first time since February 2009, the Ohio State basketball program finds itself on a three-game losing streak after the Buckeyes were beaten by Minnesota on Thursday by a score of 63-53. Turnovers again played a key role in Ohio State's most recent defeat, as the Buckeyes' 13 giveaways to the Golden Gophers brought their total to 51 over the course of the past three games.
After playing a closely-contested first half that came to a close with the score tied at 29, Minnesota got out to an early advantage in the second stanza before consecutive 3-point jumpers from LaQuinton Ross gave Ohio State a 38-36 advantage with fewer than 14 minutes remaining in the game.
The Buckeyes couldn't maintain momentum, however, as the Gophers took the final lead of the game with an 8-0 run. Ohio State closed the Minnesota gap to three with 5:44 remaining in the contest, but the Gophers proceeded to stretch their lead to as many as 14 points by the sound of the final buzzer.
Ross led the way for the Buckeyes with 22 points, but the other Ohio State starters combined for just 6-of-22 shooting from the field, while Sam Thompson added 12 points off the bench for the Buckeyes. Ohio State made just 18 of its 51 shot attempts on the night, a 35.3 percent shooting percentage that was hardly aided by an 11-18 outing from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Minnesota made 51.1 percent of its shots, with guard Deandre Mathieu pacing the Gophers with 13 points, Elliott Eliason adding 12 and Andre Hollins scoring 10. Minnesota also out-rebounded the Buckeyes by a 37-25 clip as Ohio State opted for its small-ball lineup for extended stretches in the second half.
Having fallen to 2-3 in conference play, the Buckeyes will look to bounce back on Monday, when they head to Nebraska for a 7 p.m. tip with the Cornhuskers.