COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio University men’s basketball team (1-1) outscored the No. 10/9 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) in the second half Tuesday night but came up just short, falling by a score of 79-69 at Value City Arena.
After being down by as many as 17 in the first half, Ohio pulled to within five (65-60) with four minutes to play. But the Buckeyes responded with four-straight points from there, and Ohio could not move any closer than seven (74-67) for the remainder of the contest.
A duo of Columbus-area natives put together outstanding offensive performances, as junior guard Stevie Taylor (Gahanna, Ohio) led the Bobcats with a career-high 21 points, while senior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) matched him with 21 points and added five rebounds.
With his third 3-pointer of the night, Kellogg moved past Steve Esterkamp and into fourth place on the Ohio all-time 3-pointers made list with 208 in his career.
Junior Maurice Ndour (Mbour, Senegal) led the Bobcats with nine rebounds and posted eight of his 10 points in the second half, while senior guard Ricardo Johnson (Covington, Ky.) added nine points and chipped in four rebounds in 26 minutes on the floor.
The Bobcats out-scored OSU 41-39 in the second half and shot 53.6 percent (15-28) from the floor in the stanza. Ohio’s defense also held the Buckeyes to just 40.9 percent shooting (18-44) for the game, including a 27.8 mark (5-18) from beyond the arc.
Ohio also held a 34-24 edge in points in the paint for the contest, but could not overcome a 51-21 edge in free throw attempts by Ohio State.
Ohio State opened the game on a 9-0 run and the Bobcats trailed by as many as 17 at 24-7, but Ohio slowly chipped away at the OSU lead and moved within 10 (36-26) on a lay-up by Taylor with 1:27 to play in the half. The Buckeyes took a 12-point lead (40-28) into the break.
The Buckeyes stretched the lead back out to 15 with 16:21 to play, but Ohio got back into the game with a critical 13-4 run beginning with a 3-pointer from Taylor at the 6:46 mark of the second half. A lay-in by Ndour moved Ohio within five (65-60) and a 3-pointer from Kellogg kept Ohio down just seven (74-67) with just 1:41 to go. The ‘Cats could not get any closer for the rest of the night.
The Bobcats will be in action again on Sunday when they host Valparaiso (2-0) in the Convocation Center at 2 p.m.