Hot-Shooting Huskers Hand Ohio State 13th-Straight Road Loss in Decisive Fashion, 83-69

By Andy Anders on January 23, 2024 at 8:53 pm

Ohio State's perimeter, plainly, was dismantled at Nebraska on Tuesday.

The Cornhuskers made the Buckeyes look downright corny from three, shooting 14-of-27 (51.9%) to Ohio State's 8-of-23 (34.8%).

OHIO STATE 35 34 69
NEBRASKA 43 40 83

All that led to a blowout loss on the road for the Buckeyes (13-6, 3-5 Big Ten) – their 13th straight defeat away from Value City Arena and fourth loss in five games overall – against Nebraska (15-5, 5-4) 83-69.

Center Rienk Mast enjoyed a career shooting night for the Huskers. With a previous career-high of six triples, he went 6-of-8 from downtown for a game-high 34 points. Guards C.J. Wilcher and Brice Williams added 16 and 14 points.

Bruce Thornton posted 16 points and six assists for Ohio State in a losing effort. Jamison Battle followed with 11 points.

First half

It took more than six and a half minutes for either side to take a two-score lead.

Ohio State and Nebraska combined to shoot 11-of-15 (73.3%) in the opening six minutes, exchanging buckets back and forth in a high-scoring opening stretch.

A 9-0 run made it so that the Buckeyes were the first team to take a bit of control. Zed Key got an easy finish down low after a guard rotated to defend him and Thornton knocked down an open three, a welcome sight after his recent struggles and an 0-for-1 start from outside against the Huskers.

Battle cashed in a layup and a pair of Thornton free throws made it 22-13 Ohio State with 11:36 to play in the first half.

Nebraska immediately countered with an 8-0 run of its own. Guard C.J. Wilcher collected five points in a row including a silky step-back three to help cut the lead right back down to 22-21. Roddy Gayle Jr. stopped a stretch of 4:21 without any scoring from Ohio State with a toe-on-the-line two-pointer.

Three consecutive triples, one from star guard Keisei Tominaga and two from center Rienk Mast, gave Nebraska its first lead in over 10 minutes at 32-30.

Mast then hit another three, this time hitting a pump-fake into a step-back, to catalyze a 7-0 run that helped the Huskers carry a 43-35 lead into halftime.

While Ohio State carried an 18-10 advantage in points in the paint into the locker room, Nebraska went 7-of-17 from three to the Buckeyes' 2-of-8. The Huskers hit each of their last four attempts from distance to close the period.

Second half

83 POINTS 69
30-61 (49.2%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 27-56 (48.2%)
14-27 (51.9%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 8-23 (34.8%)
9-12 (75%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 7-12 (58.3%)

Thornton and Battle worked to reinvigorate Ohio State's three-point shooting at the start of the second half, hitting back-to-back triples with Thornton's coming through a foul. Nebraska's lead was cut to 45-41 in the early stretches of the half.

But the Huskers kept up their own hot-shooting ways from behind the arc.

Wilcher hit back-to-back left-corner triples, using similar actions to get open on both plays. Mast continued his career shooting night with a three from the top of the key and Nebraska was back ahead by double-digits, up 57-47 with 12:08 remaining.

Another pair of Mast triples, both from way outside with one from the left wing and one from the top of the key, pushed Nebraska's lead out to 16 as the clock ticked under 10 minutes.

Ohio State tried to wake up down the stretch but Nebraska was simply too effective on the offensive end to let the Buckeyes back into the game. Wilcher hit yet another three and Mast canned a pair of layups from the post.

The Buckeyes got the lead as close as 12, but a Williams three served as a dagger, putting the Huskers up 81-66 with 1:35 left.

In the final 12 minutes of play, Nebraska never led by less than 10.

What's next

Ohio State plays a second consecutive road game for the first time this season as it travels to Evanston, Illinois to take on Northwestern. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday with the game set to be televised by Big Ten Network.

Game notes

  • Nebraska outscored Ohio State 30-13 in the final 11 minutes of the first half after taking a 22-13 lead.
  • Bowen Hardman played perhaps his first meaningful minutes of the season as Ohio State searched everywhere for answers in the second half, entering with a bit more than seven minutes remaining. He actually provided a bit of a spark, hitting three triples with 11 points total, second-most on the team.
  • Gayle has now missed his last 17 threes in a row.
  • Ohio State's free-throw percentage was its third-worst of the season at 58.3%, the only games worse being Jan. 10 against Nebraska (40%) and Nov. 19 against Western Michigan (45.5%).
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