Minnesota got its best player back from injury for its game against Ohio State on Saturday, but the return of Amir Coffey wasn't enough to hand the Buckeyes their first conference loss of the year.
|No. 22 OHIO STATE||38||29||67|
The Buckeyes defeated the Golden Gophers, 67-49, on Saturday at Madison Square Garden behind a solid second-half performance from Keita Bates-Diop.
Bates-Diop, who struggled offensively in a win over Northwestern on Wednesday, again struggled to find his shot in the first half, scoring just six points on 3-of-9 shooting. The redshirt junior forward responded in the second half, however, scoring 11 points and grabbing eight boards to lead the Buckeyes down the stretch. Bates-Diop finished with 12 boards, giving him his eighth double-double of the season.
Freshman center Kaleb Wesson also dropped in 15 points and corralled eight rebounds in 24 minutes of action against the Gophers.
After taking a seven-point lead into the halftime locker room, Ohio State doubled the advantage with 13:56 to play in the game, taking a 48-34 lead on a layup from Bates-Diop in the lane.
Shortly after, the Golden Gophers briefly lost star forward Jordan Murphy to an ankle injury, as the dominant post player was taken to the locker room after rolling his ankle underneath the basket with 11:44 to play. From that point, Ohio State opened up a 55-40 lead, before Murphy checked back in with 8:57 to play. However, it was too late for Minnesota. The Buckeye lead extended to as many as 21 points before the clock hit zeroes.
|27-66 (40.9%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||18-47 (38.3%)|
|4-20 (20.0%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||3-14 (21.4%)|
|9-10 (90.0%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||10-20 (50.0%)|
Ohio State outrebounded the Gophers 41-34, and limited Murphy, who entered the game averaging 12.1 rebounds per game, to just five boards. Murphy did finish with a team-high 13 points. In his first game back from injury, Coffey added 11 points in the loss.
The start of the game saw both teams feeling each other out, as Ohio State took a 8-7 lead at the first media timeout, following a layup from Wesson underneath. From that point on, however, the Golden Gophers rattled off an 11-2 run, that was capped by a layup from Murphy, leading to an Ohio State timeout with 11:52 to play in the first half.
After the Gophers extended their lead to 20-10, Ohio State responded with a 7-0 run with Bates-Diop on the bench. Jae'Sean Tate was the facilitator for the Buckeyes during the run, starting the spurt with a left-handed hook shot in the lane, before handing out assists on a C.J. Jackson three-pointer and a layup from Wesson. Tate finished with 10 points and five assists, while Jackson contributed 11 points.
The run extended following a Minnesota timeout, as Jackson connected on two more shots from long range, followed by another from Wesson. The Buckeye lead ballooned to 34-22, before the Golden Gophers finally found the bottom of the net on a shot from Coffey, snapping a 24-2 run by Ohio State.
The Gophers closed the gap to just seven at halftime following a scoring spurt from Murphy, going into the half down 38-31 to the Buckeyes.
Ohio State is set to return home on Monday to take on Nebraska. Tip is set for 8 p.m. from Value City Arena.