Ohio State Falls Short in Upset Bid of Virginia

For a half of basketball, the Ohio State Buckeyes looked poise to pull off a huge road win over the 6th ranked Virginia Cavaliers. After handling Virginia’s vaunted defensive pressure for 20 minutes, Ohio State took a 12-point lead into the break.

As well as they handled the pressure in the first half, they were equally as bad at dealing with it in the second half. The Buckeyes wilted under the Cavaliers’ relentless attack, ultimately losing 63-61 when JaQuan Lyle’s long three point attempt at the buzzer grazed off the front of the rim.

Things couldn’t have started any better for the Buckeyes in the first half. An 8-0 run with just under nine minutes left in the first half pushed their lead to 22-11 lead.

Ohio State’s lead would stretch to as many as 16 points when C.J. Jackson hit back-to-back three pointers.

For the half, the Buckeyes shot 60 percent, while holding the Cavaliers to just 8-of-28 shooting from the field as they went to the break with a 36-24 lead.

It didn’t take long for Virginia to erase the lead in the second half.

A turnover was the result of Ohio State’s first possession, an ominous sign as the second half got

underway.

Turnovers and missed shots were the theme of the early minutes of the second half as Virginia hit Ohio State with a flurry of punches.

An 11-0 run by the Cavaliers cut the lead all the way down to a single point with less than four minutes coming off the clock.

London Perrantes’ jumper gave Virginia their first lead of the game with 15 minutes left to play.

To the Buckeyes’ credit, they stopped the bleeding and battled back to regain the lead. Jackson connected on his third three pointer of the game, giving the Buckeyes a two-point advantage.

Micah Potter’s layup pushed the lead up to eight points with under nine minutes to play, but the Buckeyes simply couldn’t hold on to the ball enough down the stretch to keep the lead.

Their next two possessions resulted in turnovers, part of 11 in the second half and 20 for the game.

Despite all the mistakes, Ohio State still found themselves in a tied game with three minutes left to play.

Another turnover by Lyle directly led to a Virginia basket, giving the Cavaliers a lead with two minutes left that they wouldn’t relinquish. The mistake was the capper on a tough night for Lyle, who consistently dribbled into traffic and traps where Virginia typically feasts. He finished with 12 points and 8 turnovers.

It was the first test of the season for the previously unbeaten Buckeyes. While there were signs of encouragement, particularly in the way they shot the ball, the things that plagued them last year reared their ugly head again.

Ohio State finished with a 50 percent field goal percentage, while they held Virginia to just 38 percent shooting. Rebounds were even at 31 a piece.

Giving away possessions at a high rate isn’t going to end well more often than not, regardless of how well a team shoots the ball. Virginia deserves a great deal of credit for that, as that is just their game and model for winning.

Still, the Buckeyes have to learn how to make winning plays in critical situations if they are to make any noise in the Big Ten this season.

They will be back on the floor this Saturday when they take on Fairleigh Dickinson. The start of that game is set for 4:30.

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