Ohio State desperately needed that.
After a stunning upset loss to Florida Atlantic on Tuesday night, the Buckeyes responded Saturday evening with a 64-60 victory over Connecticut at Value City Arena.
Trevor Thompson led the way for Ohio State as the junior center scored 17 points and snagged 17 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench. JaQuan Lyle scored 16 and Jae'Sean Tate chipped in 13 for the Buckeyes, who won despite shooting just 2-for-18 as a team from behind the 3-point line.
The game was tied at 54-all at the final media timeout. Thompson hit a pair of free throws to give the Buckeyes a two-point edge. Ohio State forced a turnover and then JaQuan Lyle added a pair of free throws of his own to push the lead to 58-54 with 1 minute, 45 seconds to play. Lyle added four more free throws after that to put the game out of reach.
Ohio State took the lead on a pair of free throws from Thompson as part of a 7-0 run. The Buckeyes trailed 47-42 with 12:16 to play, but Thompson found Keita Bates-Diop inside for a dunk and then added the pair from the stripe to give Ohio State a 49-47 advantage at the under-8 media timeout.
UConn led by as many as eight in the second half as the Huskies came out of the locker room and went on an 8-2 run to open things up.
|18–53 (34%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||24–55 (44%)|
|2–18 (11%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||7–22 (32%)|
|26–34 (77%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||5–9 (56%)|
Ohio State started strong, but multiple first half lulls cost the Buckeyes as UConn led 34-32 after the opening 20 minutes. A Jalen Adams 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Huskies the slight edge at halftime.
After a couple of rough possessions to open the game, Ohio State found some holes early in the UConn zone and jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead as Loving and Kam Williams each hit 3-pointers in the early going.
But the Buckeyes' offense stalled shortly after that as they made just one field goal over the next five minutes. Adams hit a pair of free throws to give the Huskies a brief 19-18 lead.
Thompson scored six consecutive points to spark an 8-0 run by Ohio State shortly after that, however, as the Buckeyes regained control at 27-21. But again UConn had an answer as Vance Jackson connected on a 3-pointer and Christian Vital scored inside to get within one.
Thompson's nine first-half points led the way for Ohio State. The junior center also had six rebounds in 14 minutes of action as Micah Potter battled foul trouble. Tate scored seven points while Loving added six in the first half.
The Buckeyes shot just 37 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, though, and they were a dismal 2-for-12 from behind the 3-point line. UConn shot 54 percent in the first half but committed 10 first-half turnovers.
Ohio State won't be back in action until next Saturday as the Buckeyes face No. 2-ranked UCLA as part of the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas.