Freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh led No. 23 Ohio State with 22 points as the Buckeyes were unable to hold off a furious second-half comeback by North Carolina, falling 89-84 in overtime in the CBS Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
North Carolina (8-4) outscored Ohio State 54-40 in the second half and overtime, and the Buckeyes (7-3) shot just 2 for 10 from the field during the extra period as the Tar Heels came back from an 11-point second-half deficit.
Ohio State scored the game’s first five points before North Carolina ripped off an 11-1 run to pull ahead 11-6 entering the under-16 timeout. However, it was all Buckeyes from there, with forwards Justice Sueing and Sensabaugh scoring 11 of Ohio State’s next 13 points and leading OSU on a 9-0 run to take a 19-14 lead with 11:33 to play in the opening frame.
After North Carolina forward Armando Bacot hit a pair of free throws to make it 19-16, the Buckeyes ripped off another 9-0 run to extend their lead to 12 with 8:32 to go in the first half. With 6:01 remaining in the frame, Sensabaugh cashed a three to lift Ohio State to its largest lead of the half, 34-20. However, Bacot got into a groove, scoring 12 of North Carolina’s final 15 points in the half while helping the Tar Heels cut Ohio State’s deficit to six with nine seconds to play in the stanza. However, Sueing drilled a three at the buzzer, and Ohio State took a 44-35 lead into the half.
The Tar Heels came out swinging to start the second half, hitting four of their first five shots in the frame while using a 10-2 run to cut Ohio State’s lead to 46-45 with 16:27 remaining in the game. However, the Buckeyes quickly repelled the Tar Heels’ comeback bid with a 6-0 run of their own to push the lead to seven with 14:40 to play.
North Carolina cut its deficit down to four with 12:30 remaining, as Bacot finished an and-one opportunity. Again, Ohio State responded with a 6-0 run to push its lead to double-digits with 10:07 to play.
However, the Tar Heels would not go away without a fight. North Carolina used a 17-6 run to take its first lead since it led 14-12 with 13:22 to play in the first half, jumping ahead 75-74 on a three-pointer from New York native R.J. Davis with 1:29 remaining in regulation. Fellow New York native Zed Key put Ohio State right back into the lead with a three-pointer, but a layup from Bacot knotted the game up at 77 with 17 seconds to play.
On Ohio State’s final offensive possession of regulation, Sensabaugh attacked the paint before stopping on a dime and drilling a mid-range jumper in the face of North Carolina guard Leaky Black to push Ohio State into the lead with two seconds to go. However, forward Pete Nance drilled a shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
The Tar Heels scored the first four points in overtime, but the Buckeyes responded with the next three on a layup and free throw from guard Bruce Thornton. However, North Carolina widened its lead to five behind a bucket from guard Caleb Love and pair of free throws from Davis, completing its comeback bid.
Sueing and Thornton supported Sensabaugh’s scoring efforts, adding 16 and 17 points respectively. The trio of scorers helped the Buckeyes shoot 45.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three. Key added 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
Bacot led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting while keying North Carolina’s 48-42 advantage on the glass with 15 rebounds. Guard Caleb Love scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half and overtime while keying North Carolina’s second-half comeback attempt. Davis also dropped 21 points.
Ohio State returns to Value City Arena on Wednesday to take on Maine, with tip-off set for 8:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network.