Despite leading by as many as 12 points in the second half, the Ohio State men’s basketball team needed overtime in Minneapolis to win its second straight conference game.
With the game tied at 72, sophomore forward Marc Loving hit a running shot in the lane to give the Buckeyes the lead for good as OSU defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 74-72, Tuesday night.
Minnesota had a chance to tie or take the lead with just seconds to play, but senior guard Shannon Scott deflected a Gopher pass as time expired, giving the Buckeyes the win.
OSU freshman guard D’Angelo Russell scored 25 of his 27 points in the first half against the Golden Gophers and was double-teamed for most of the second.
He did not score after the first half until there was just 1:13 left in the overtime period when he made two free-throws.
In the first half, Russell shot 10 of 12 from the field including a perfect five of five from long range as OSU took a 41-29 halftime lead on the road, which was capped by a thunderous tip-slam by Loving.
The second half was a different story for Russell as it took him until the 10:42 mark to simply get up a shot attempt in the period.
In that span, the Buckeyes mustered just 13 points.
Russell found other ways to contribute in the second half however, as he found Loving for a layup and senior guard Shannon Scott out of a double-team for an open 3-pointer.
Russell finished the game with five assists, second only to Scott’s game-high 10 helpers.
The game took its biggest turn as OSU senior center Amir Williams committed a foul on Gopher redshirt-senior forward Maurice Walker then proceeded to argue with a referee, drawing a technical foul. The Gophers made four straight free throws to cut the OSU lead to just three with less than seven minutes to play.
On the ensuing Gopher possession, junior forward Joey King buried a 3-pointer to tie the game at 60 with 6:20 on the clock.
The Gophers were led by Walker with 18 points. He also led the team in rebounds with nine.
Williams had a chance to win the game for the Buckeyes in regulation, but missed a point-blank lay-up with seconds left to send the game to overtime.
The Buckeyes are set to get back to the hardwood Saturday in Bloomington, Ind., against the Indiana Hoosiers. Tip-off is scheduled for noon.