COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State basketball returned to its winning ways after a disheartening loss to Northwestern.
In front of a small crowd at Value City Arena, the Buckeyes stormed out of the gate. They built as much as a 17-point lead in the first half and never trailed in the second half. Minnesota made it close, but Ohio State pulled out a 78-72 win against the Gophers.
The win moved Ohio State to 13-8 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten play. The Gophers fell to 15-6, 3-5. Each team won its home game in the head-to-head matchup.
Why it happened
Ohio State basketball built a big lead with great ball movement in the first half. The passes were crisp, the looks were good and the shots were falling.
This is easily the best possession of OSU’s season. Great ball movement. pic.twitter.com/LePa1tOmeI
— Big Ten Geeks (@bigtengeeks) January 26, 2017
A 12-0 run to end the first half reduced Minnesota’s deficit to five, however. The Buckeyes built another double-digit lead in the second half, but Minnesota chipped away at that one, too. In the end, though, Ohio State held on to grab the win.
What it means for Ohio State basketball
It’s enough to make fans wonder what would have happened without a squandered game against Northwestern. The Buckeyes would be riding a four-game winning streak with a trip to Iowa up next. Instead, the Buckeyes have won three of four but still have quite the hole to climb out of in the Big Ten standings.
It’s still a move in the right direction. At this point, Ohio State just needs to take care of each team in front of it instead of worrying about the big picture. The Buckeyes can’t undo all the previous wrongs in one night. It was still a good conference win that could get them back on track.
Center Trevor Thompson gave Ohio State a huge boost early and finished with 19 points. Meanwhile, Marc Loving delivered 19 points for the Buckeyes.
Perhaps, because he was banged up, Kam Williams didn’t deliver much, scoring just 7 points in 25 minutes.
What’s next for Ohio State basketball
Ohio State travels to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday in a game televised by ESPN2. It’s the only meeting between the two teams this season.
FINAL: Ohio State 78, Minnesota 72 pic.twitter.com/nvU4YtotGM
— Ryan Ginn (@rmginn) January 26, 2017