The last time Ohio State and Nebraska faced off, the Cornhuskers held the big halftime lead and it was the Buckeyes who came back to win.
But on Wednesday, Ohio State was up 33-20 with 20 minutes to play, and the teams had a chance to flip roles in the rematch.
Instead, the Buckeyes continued to put on the pressure, going up 20 after three quarters and ultimately defeating the Cornhuskers 65-52 for their sixth straight win.
“Honestly, I think how we played there and they got us in the first half, I think they were up by 15 in the first half, so this time before the game we were talking about how we can’t start how we started there,” sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz said. “We had that idea in our head that we have to be really strong, we have to fight for every ball and everything, and I think we started off really well.”
The third quarter proved to be the backbreaker in the game, with Ohio State going on a 12-2 run to go up 47-25, a lead that would never get back into single digits.
But Nebraska did not go down without a fight, going on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to just 11 with over half of the fourth quarter still to go.
The big lead would prove too much to overcome, though, as makes by sophomore forward Aaliyah Patty and junior guard Braxtin Miller pushed the lead back to 15.
“We were just, not lackadaisical, but just too confident that, not the game was over, that we were going to win,” Miller said on the fourth quarter performance. “I mean that’s always good, to have confidence that you’re going to win, but we still have to keep pushing and keep fighting and keep working.”
Miller, who finished with 13 points and three steals, also hit a three with 2:55 to play to get the lead back to the 15-point margin at 63-48.
“She was really good,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “She was really steady, we really moved the ball when she was in there. She took good shots and she was very efficient on the offensive end.”
Patty was also solid all game, and ended with 11 points and seven rebounds, hitting 5 of 9 attempts.
The victory moved Ohio State to 17-9 and 10-5 in the Big Ten, tied for fourth in the conference with Indiana, who the Buckeyes hold the tiebreaker over after defeating the Hoosiers this past Sunday.
Nebraska held an early 16-12 advantage in the second quarter before the Buckeyes put together a 14-0 run to go up by 12. Nine of the points in the run came from Juhasz, who managed a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) before the first half was even over.
The sophomore forward had all 12 of her first-half points in the second quarter, shooting a perfect 5 of 5 in the frame after starting 0 of 4 from the field.
“I didn’t start out very good offensively, so the shots weren’t going in,” Juhasz said. “I was just trying to get rebounds and help the team like that, and then in the second quarter finally my shots got in, but I was just working hard.”
Juhasz was less productive in the second half, but still finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds on 6-of-13 shooting.
Thanks to the 14-0 run, the Buckeyes were up 13 at the break, outscoring Nebraska 21-8 in the second quarter after an even 12-12 first quarter.
“We got out in transition and we were moving the ball,” McGuff said of the run. “We got really good shots during that stretch, either in transition or in the half court.”
Even with the lead, Ohio State shot just 38.9 percent (14 of 36) from the field, but did hit 4 of 10 three-point attempts. Instead, it was defense that led the way, with Nebraska shooting 28.6 percent (10 of 35), while missing all 13 attempts from deep.
“Our defense was good, we held them to 20 points in the first half,” McGuff said. “They’re really good off ball screens, I thought we were much better defending the ball screens than we were in Lincoln.”
By the end, Ohio State hit 27 of 66 attempts (40.9 percent) overall and 8 of 21 from three (38.9 percent). Nebraska hit 21 of 61 from the field (34.4 percent) and hit on 2 of 20 (10.0 percent) from behind the arc.
Ohio State travels to Piscataway, New Jersey to take on Rutgers at 2 p.m. Saturday.
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