Ohio State's five-game winning streak came to an end Saturday in New Orleans, as the Buckeyes dropped an 86-72 contest to No. 5 North Carolina.
|NO. 5 NORTH CAROLINA||41||45||86|
The Tar Heels used suffocating defense and stellar perimeter shooting to get by the Buckeyes. North Carolina forced Ohio State into nine first-half turnovers and converted on 13-of-25 shots from the three point line, including nine makes in the first half.
The start of the game featured C.J. Jackson carrying the offensive load for Ohio State, as the point guard accounted for the Buckeyes' first 11 points, as the Tar Heels led by just two early on at 13-11.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||NORTH CAROLINA|
|26-59 (44.1%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||26-57 (45.6%)|
|5-16 (37.1%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||13-25 (52.0%)|
|15-19 (78.9%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||21-25 (84.0%)|
After picking up two fouls in less than five minutes to start the game, Keita Bates-Diop returned to the game with 11:18 to play in the first half and scored the next seven Ohio State points, giving the Buckeyes a brief 18-17 lead with 7:46 to play in the first half.
The two teams traded baskets as the game would proceed to a 23-23 tie with 5:37 to play in the first half. From there, however, the Tar Heels ended the first half on an 18-4 run that featured four three-point shots from North Carolina, and a technical foul on Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann in the final minute of the first half. The Buckeyes trailed 41-27 at the half, its largest halftime deficit of the season.
Bates-Diop finished with a team-high 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while Jackson finished with 19. Freshman forward Kaleb Wesson also scored in double figures, contributing 12 points in a losing effort.
Ohio State cut the Tar Heel lead to nine on three separate occasions in the second half, despite trailing by as many as 19 with under five minutes to play. Bates-Diop brought the Buckeyes to within nine with just 1:10 to play following a long three-point make, but North Carolina put the game away at the free throw line. Bates-Diop accounted for the final 13 points of the game for Ohio State.
Each time Ohio State threatened to cut deeper into the UNC lead, the defending national champs answered with their veteran point guard, Joel Berry II.
Berry scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half to pace the Tar Heels. Theo Pinson also poured in 19 for North Carolina, converting on all 10 of his free throw attempts against Ohio State.
Next up for Ohio State is the final non-conference game of the season, as the Buckeyes welcome Miami (Ohio) to Value City Arena on Dec. 30 with tip set for noon.