In a game that featured 19 lead changes and seven ties, there was perhaps one stat more important than any to swing things – second-chance points.
Texas A&M racked up 19 of them while picking up 16 offensive rebounds, and given it won the contest by a 73-66 margin, that proved to be enough of a difference on Friday night at the Schottenstein Center.
Wade Taylor IV, Tyrece Radford and Henry Coleman III each had a gargantuan hand in the Texas A&M victory, scoring 21, 21 and 20 points, respectively. Coleman led all the game's rebounders with 11 boards.
Bruce Thornton put up a valiant 24 points to lead all scorers on 8-of-20 shooting in the losing effort.
|#15 TEXAS A&M||34||39||73|
The Buckeyes also showed some strong interior defense on Friday. In the first 24 minutes of game action, they swatted away nine Aggie shot attempts. That was already enough to surpass Ohio State's season-high of eight blocks from a year ago. The Buckeyes finished with a total of 10 swatted shots. But that wasn’t enough to earn a victory on Friday.
Thornton hit a three on the first possession and first shot of the game as the Buckeyes built an initial 7-0 advantage, but Texas A&M soon countered with a 9-2 run to take the lead at 11-9.
Ohio State had answers, however, first with a strong contested mid-range jumper from Middleton then a pump fake from Thornton that saw a defender fly by to allow him to knock down an open 3.
Roddy Gayle Jr. added a floater to give Ohio State a 16-13 lead with 13:05 to play in the first half.
Some sloppy play ensued. Errant passes were thrown on both sides, including some miscommunication on an attempted cross-court feed from Middleton to Gayle. Dale Bonner dribbled himself into a backcourt violation, trapped against an Aggie defender. For the half, however, the Buckeyes and Aggies only had three turnovers each.
Coming out of the stretch, Jamison Battle hit a triple from the left wing that gave the Buckeyes a two-score lead again at 21-17 with 7:41 left before halftime.
Offensive rebounding was keeping Texas A&M in the contest, however. The Aggies' Andersson Garcia grabbed an offensive board and fed it to Coleman and another offensive rebound from Coleman led to an open 3 for Radford to tie the contest at 24.
Even a defensive rebound initially grabbed by Gayle was stolen from his hands and laid in by Radford. Texas A&M enjoyed an 8-2 first-half advantage in offensive rebounds and a 13-2 in second-chance points.
None of that stopped Gayle from throwing down a thunderous alley-oop from Thornton that drew the loudest pop yet from an engaged crowd at Value City Arena, however, giving the Buckeyes a 31-28 lead at the under-four media timeout.
Texas A&M used a 6-0 run to take a 34-33 edge into halftime, though.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||TEXAS A&M|
|26-62 (41.9%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||27-63 (42.9%)|
|4-19 (21.1%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||3-18 (16.7%)|
|10-17 (58.8%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||16-23 (69.6%)|
Ohio State's interior defense was starting to make an impact on the offensive end.
After Evan Mahaffey rejected a shot by Coleman, Ohio State ignited a fast break that was capped by a Bonner layup counted for goaltending.
For the most part, however, the second half remained nip-and-tuck. Swing after swing kept happening and happening. By the time Texas A&M point guard Wade Taylor IV converted an and-one layup and the ensuing free throw to put the Aggies up 51-49 with less than 11 minutes to play, there had been 19 lead changes in the contest, including six on the past six made baskets.
Zed Key began to find success in this sequence, making an and-one layup of his own before Taylor's and sticking back a missed shot afterward to knot the game at 51 a piece.
After Radford gave the Aggies a lead once more, Thornton answered with a floater that rolled around the rim and dropped to tie things 53-53 with 7:32 to play.
Then, for the first time in the second half, a team gained two scores worth of separation. Texas A&M got buckets from Taylor and Coleman to make it a 57-53 ballgame, then exchanged a Thornton free throw with a Taylor layup to go ahead 59-54.
Ohio State tried cutting into the deficit on a Mahaffey layup, but was once again thwarted by the Aggies' offensive rebounding and trailed 61-56 with 4:50 to play after Garcia stuck back a teammate's miss.
Thornton cashed an and-one layup in for three points to pull Ohio State back within a score at 63-60 only for Radford to draw a foul on the offensive glass and make it 65-60 at the charity stripe.
Ohio State never got back within one score again as the Aggies hit five free throws in the final minute and Battle fouled out with 38 seconds to play.
Ohio State takes on Merrimack College at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Value City Arena. The game will be aired by Big Ten Network.
- Jerry Lucas, Basketball Hall of Famer and a member of the 1960 Ohio State National Championship team, was in attendance for Friday's game.
- Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle Jr. combined for 11 assists against the Aggies, but no other player on Ohio State's roster recorded a single one.
- Ohio State shot just 4-of-19 from 3, though Texas A&M shot an even worse 3-for-18.
- The Buckeyes also went just 10-of-17 (59 percent) from the free-throw line.
- There was a corgi race at halftime featuring around 10 dogs running down the court at Value City Arena.