The Ohio State men’s basketball team beat Penn State 71-70 in State College on Tuesday night, thanks to a Jae’Sean Tate game-winning layup with three seconds remaining on the clock.
With the win, the Buckeyes move to 17-13 on the season and 7-10 in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, fall to 14-16 overall and 6-11 in the conference.
How it happened
Jumping out to a 10-3 lead in the game’s first 3 minutes, Ohio State seemed to carry the momentum from its upset of Wisconsin last Thursday into Happy Valley. Penn State, however, would even the score at 10-10 with a 7-0 run of its own, as a pair of Lamar Stevens basketballs sandwiched a Shep Garner 3-pointer.
The Buckeyes proceeded to retake their lead on a Tate layup and stretched their advantage to 7 at 24-17 on a JaQuan Lyle 3-pointer halfway through the opening half. But Ohio State wouldn’t be able to push its first-half lead to double digits, and a Tony Carr layup with 5 seconds left in the stanza made it 40-36 Buckeyes at halftime.
In the second half, it was Penn State that appeared to have momentum on its side. Another 3 from Garner on the half’s first possession trimmed OSU’s advantage to a single point and the Nittany Lions took their first lead of the game less than 2 minutes later thanks to a pair of Stevens free throws.
Penn State would then proceed to push its lead to 9, opening the half on what was ultimately a 17-4 run.
The Buckeyes would bounce back to put together a 12-4 run of their own, but failed the regain the lead when Andre Wesson split a pair of free throws with 10:05 left on the clock. Marc Loving, however, would tie the game 3 minutes later with a pair of free throws, then Wesson gave Ohio State a 63-60 lead with a 3-pointer a possession later.
After Stevens split a pair of free throws with 2:53 left on the clock to bring the Nittany Lions to within a point of the Buckeyes, Trevor Thompson hit a hook shot to give OSU a 67-64 advantage on the ensuing possession. Stevens again made just 1 of 2 from the charity stripe with 2:04 left in the game and Lyle ended a minute-long scoreless drought for both teams with a jumper as the Buckeyes took a 69-65 lead into the final minute of action.
Carr hit a driving layup to trim PSU’s deficit to 2 and a Tate travel on the ensuing possession gave the Nittany Lions the ball with 28 seconds remaining in the game. Carr proceeded to sink a 3-pointer from more than a foot outside the arc to give Penn State a 1-point lead with 9 seconds remaining.
Tate, however, would recover from his costly turnover, hitting a spinning layup with 3 seconds left on the clock to give the Buckeyes the victory.
What it means for Ohio State basketball
Make no mistake, the Buckeyes are likely still a long way from the NCAA Tournament ‘bubble,’ but the win Tuesday was another step in the right direction following the three-game losing streak that preceded the beatdown of the Badgers.
In the first half, Ohio State put together a strong effort and in the second, it overcame adversity.
In order to crash the Big Dance, however, the Buckeyes still likely need a deep run in the Big Ten Tournament, perhaps one as far as to the championship game. But at the very least, judging by its past two efforts, OSU appears to be trending in the right direction.
Lyle put together an impressive game, scoring 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He was joined in double-digit scoring by Loving (14), Tate (12) and Thompson (11).
Freshman center Micah Potter (5 points) and junior guard Kam Williams (3 points) each shot 1 of 5 from the field on Tuesday.
The Buckeyes will return to action on Saturday when they host Indiana for a 12 p.m. ET tip in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Hoosiers are 16-14 on the season with a 6-11 record in Big Ten play. Indiana lost at No. 16 Purdue on Tuesday, 86-75.