A second-half surge fell short on Thursday night as No. 8 Ohio State fell 69-60 on the road to No. 14 Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, despite a 17-point second-half comeback.
|#8 Ohio State||17||14||21||8||60|
The Blue Devils had a commanding lead midway through the third quarter, but the Buckeyes surged back, tying the game at 57 in the fourth. Ultimately, it wasn't enough, as Duke countered with a run to win the game 69-60.
The 60 points was a season-low scoring performance for a normally high-powered Ohio State offense. The Buckeyes came into the game averaging 94 points a game with each of their five starters averaging double figures. Only Kelsey Mitchell (24) and Linnae Harper (12) reached double digits on Thursday.
Ohio State made itself reliant on outside shooting, and the shots didn't fall. The Buckeyes shot 36 threes and hit just 10 while Duke took over half as many and hit just two fewer, finishing 8-for-17 from behind the arc.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils dominated the paint, outscoring Ohio State 36-18 down low and dominating them on the defensive boards, holding a 36-18 advantage. The Buckeyes couldn't even get to the free throw line with consistency as they shot just six free throws as a team.
Ohio State couldn't get points from the usual places, especially at the start. It took the team's leading scorer Mitchell almost an entire quarter to find the bottom of the net, and its leading post player Stephanie Mavunga over 17 minutes before she finally scored a single point from the free-throw line.
|23-71 (32%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||26-57 (46%)|
|10-36 (28%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||8-17 (47%)|
|4-6 (67%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||9-14 (64%)|
Quite simply, Duke was controlled the game, playing great defense and knocking down open shots. Ohio State wasn't making many shots and was unable to set up its press as a result, and the Blue Devils weren't missing many shots, keeping the Buckeyes from pushing the tempo on offense.
Ohio State struggled in the first half, on both sides of the ball. The Buckeyes shot just 30 percent from the field in the first half, managing just 27 points on 37 shot attempts. Meanwhile, Duke put up 43 points in the first half – the most Ohio State had given up in any half this season – shooting a red-hot 57 percent from the field and 55-percent from three.
The Blue Devils held a 43-31 lead entering halftime.
Duke began to stretch that lead in the second half, taking a 17-point lead with 6:47 left in the third quarter, then the Buckeyes stormed back. Ohio State went on a 22-5 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to tie the game at 57, holding the Blue Devils to no field goals for 8:36 of game time.
Duke stopped the bleeding and counted, scoring the game's next nine points to take a comfortable lead in the game's final quarter, and the Blue Devils never relented. Ohio State managed just three more points after the huge run and fell on the road 69-60.
The loss is only the Buckeyes' second of the season and both losses have been close at the hands of top-15 teams, as Ohio State fell to No. 8 Louisville in its second game of the season.
Next up, the Buckeyes host Maine on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Value City Arena.