Every time Ohio State came within striking distance UCLA responded to earn an 86-73 win over the Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon in the CBS Sports Classic at Las Vegas.
After trailing by 14 points early in the second half, Ohio State (8-3) cut it to six on three different occasions but failed to get any closer in the loss.
The first two times OSU trimmed it a six, UCLA answered with a pair of free throws on both instances.
The final time the Buckeyes shaved the Bruins' lead to six was when Kam Williams hit a jumper at the 6:40 mark to make it a 71-65 game. UCLA (12-0), however, outscored OSU, 15-8, the rest of the way to remain undefeated.
UCLA put the exclamation point on the win when Isaac Hamilton found Lonzo Ball for an alley-oop dunk on a fastbreak to go up, 83-71, with 1:28 remaining in the game.
"I think anytime you can get a double-digit win against a Big Ten team, I mean, this team's really good," Bruin head coach Steve Alford said. "They're well-coached. They've got some vets on this team, and an awful lot of respect for them."
Ohio State trailed by just three at halftime, 40-37, but UCLA went on a 16-5 run in the first 4:20 of the second half to earn that pivotal 14-point advantage.
"I thought that tightened us up a little bit on the defensive end, we panicked a little bit," OSU head coach Thad Matta said of UCLA's run. "And that was something we had talked about. They're going to go on the runs. They're a high-powered, offensive team, they're talented and well-coached."
The Bruins finished the game with four players scoring in double figures. Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday each had 20 while Hamilton poured in 17 and TJ Leaf added 13.
OSU, meanwhile, had three players score 10 points or more. Marc Loving paced the Buckeyes with 19. Jae’Sean Tate scored 15 and Keita Bates-Diop dropped 13.
Ohio State’s three-point shooting woes continued for a third straight game. The Buckeyes shot a miserable 5 of 24 from deep (20.8 percent) vs. UCLA, and have made only 11 of 62 treys (17.7 percent) in the last three games combined. Loving knocked down three triples while JaQuan Lyle and Kam Williams had the other two.
Conversely, the country’s best three-point shooting team made 10 of 31 attempts. Five different Bruins connected from long distance.
Turnovers contributed to Ohio State’s demise as well. The Buckeyes had 18 giveaways that resulted in 21 points for UCLA.
"When you're playing a team like UCLA, the one thing you can't do is give them the basketball back," Matta said. "We had some possessions at key opportunities in the first half that you can't do that, because percentage says they're eventually going to score. We had a couple outlet passes that gave it back to them. We had some transition errors. Those are the things that have to be alleviated."
OSU returns to Columbus to face Youngstown State (6-6) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. (ET).