Ohio State fell 62-59 to Minnesota at the hands of standout guard Marcus Carr at Value City Arena on Jan. 23.
“We felt like we were competing, like we were playing hard,” junior forward Kyle Young said. “Our energy was good. Our energy was better than it has been but that’s why it’s disappoint. It’s a tough loss, because we felt like we were in it, and we felt like we were going to win that game.
The Buckeyes trailed the Golden Gophers 57-55 with less than two minutes left in the game when Young threw down a dunk and made a layup on a pair of assists from junior big man Kaleb Wesson.
But Carr, a third-year sophomore, tied the game and then hit a clutch three-pointer off the dribble with 3.3 seconds left for the win. He finished with 21 points for the Gophers.
“It was a guard-to-guard switch, he hesitated, I contested, and he made the shot,” junior guard C.J. Walker said of Carr’s shot.
The Buckeyes had a balanced attack in the loss, with Young scoring 14 points with six rebounds, sophomore guard Duane Washington scoring 12 and Walker adding 11 points.
“Bottom line is we had other guys that were able to make plays with the attention (Wesson) was given,” Holtmann said.
Wesson opened the second half with a dunk off an offensive rebound for his first and only points, giving the Buckeyes an 11-point lead at home. However, the Golden Gophers cut that lead to three with a quick 8-0 run, led by four points from Carr.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said when asked about the run. “I don’t think any of us went into it thinking it was going to be different than the way it turned out to be.”
After a Washington layup made it 48-43, Minnesota used a 6-0 stretch to take its first lead since leading 22-21 with 7:30 left in the first half.
Washington drilled a shot from deep to regain the lead for Ohio State, but Minnesota sophomore big man Daniel Oturu answered with a game-tying hook shot. Then, sophomore guard Luther Muhammad stole the ball and pushed it in transition until dishing to Walker for a reverse layup.
Minnesota sophomore guard Gabe Kalscheur connected on a clutch triple, seizing a 54-53 lead for the visitors with 4:52 remaining. Oturu extended the lead to three with a jumper from the foul line. Young converted a layup and drew a foul but missed an and-1 free throw that would have tied the game, but responded with the two finishes down the stretch.
“He’s getting his energy back,” Holtmann said of Young. “He played off other guys. He finished around the rim. Defensively, he was good when he was on Oturu. He’s slowly but surely getting his energy back.”
The Buckeyes and Golden Gophers battled throughout a back-and-forth first half with Minnesota’s biggest lead coming at 15-10.
Ohio State responded with a 6-0 streak, which it turned into an 11-2 run. The rally was highlighted by five points from Washington coming on a smooth left-handed finish off the glass and a three-pointer.
The Golden Gophers answered with a quick 5-0 run, taking a 22-21 lead on a Carr triple. The teams went back and forth with Ohio State leading 24-23 with 6:01 until halftime.
The Scarlet and Gray ripped off an 11-3 run to take a 10-point lead, sparked by five points from Carton and four from Walker. Carton passed the ball to Wesson at the elbow and immediately relocated to the corner, where Wesson found him for a wide-open three-pointer, helping Ohio State take a 37-28 advantage into intermission.
Ohio State out-shot Minnesota from the field (50 to 37 percent), from beyond the arc (44.4 to 36.4 percent) and from the charity stripe (73.3 to 50 percent) in the first frame. The Buckeyes committed seven turnovers, while only forcing two Gopher giveaways, which helped keep the visitors in the game.
In the second half, Ohio State only shot 37 percent (10 of 27) from the field and 14.3 percent (1 of 7) from three-point range, while Minnesota hit 48.1 percent (13 of 27) of its field goals and 30 percent (3 of 10) of its triples. The Buckeyes finished with 12 turnovers and the Golden Gophers only had four.
“In some ways we took a step forward in some areas,” Holtmann said. “Right now, we’re just not good enough in enough areas to win in this league. But I thought our guys competed, battled, played hard, were locked in, had a few errors that happened that get you in this league. We’ve got to find a way to answer the bell late in situations.”
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