A late comeback helped send the Ohio State Buckeyes to overtime against the Florida Atlantic Owls, but a last-second two-point jumper by sophomore guard Nick Rutherford gave the Owls the 79-77 victory.
The Florida Atlantic Owls came into Tuesday’s game on a two-game losing streak, though they had averaged 84.25 points over their past four games. The Buckeyes on the other hand had won their last game over Fairleigh Dickinson 70-62.
After breaking out to an early 5-2 lead, the Buckeyes began to fall apart defensively, allowing the Owls to go on an 11-0 run to take a 13-5 lead with 16:07 remaining in the half.
At 15:40, the Buckeyes called a timeout and brought in junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, who had missed the past five games due to an injury he sustained against Providence. Bates-Diop immediately made an impact, draining a 3-pointer on his first shot of the game. He followed that up with another 2-point jumper and an assist on senior forward Marc Loving’s 3-pointer. With Bates-Diop in the game, the Buckeyes went on a 10-0 run to take a 15-13 lead.
Following the Buckeyes’ 10-0 run, the two teams continued to trade punches with four lead changes coming in the next four minutes and 10 seconds. It wasn’t until the 8:20 mark when sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle dropped in a layup to give the Buckeyes the lead for the remainder of the half.
Both teams ended the half on a sour note, as neither offense was able to drain a field goal over the last 3:38. Only two free throws by FAU sophomore Jeantal Cylla altered the score before the end of the first half. Heading into halftime, Ohio State held the narrow edge over Florida Atlantic 32-31. The leading scorer at that point was FAU redshirt senior guard Adonis Filer with 10 points. Sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle led the Buckeyes with seven points.
After the under-16 timeout, FAU freshman forward Jailyn Ingram gave the Owls the lead 40-39. But the Buckeyes, led by junior center Trevor Thompson would start a comeback. Thompson opened up the scoring with a jumper that he followed up with an easy layup to give the Buckeyes a 43-40 lead. Bates-Diop added in a layup and a point after to expand the Bucks lead to 46-40.
Two successful free throws brought the Owls closer, but another layup from Thompson and a jumper from Loving helped the Buckeyes grab a 50-42 lead. A jumper from the Owls helped them stay in it, but two free throws from junior forward Jae’Sean Tate and three consecutive layups from Bates-Diop, Thompson and Tate put the Buckeyes soundly ahead 58-47.
That 18-7 run helped the Buckeyes take the lead, but the Owls quickly bounced back. Thanks in large parts to 3-pointers from Filer and Cylla helped FAU blow up on a 14-0 run to give the Owls a 61-58 lead with 5:53 remaining in the second half.
The Buckeyes found themselves trailing 61-58 with the crowd seemingly out of it, but a dunk by freshman center Micah Potter and a dazzling layup from sophomore guard C.J. Jackson helped provide the Buckeyes and their home crowd with a spark and bring the score to 62-61 Buckeyes.
A floater from redshirt junior guard Kam Williams opened up the overtime period and gave the Buckeyes the 73-71 lead. Tate added a jumper of his own to expand the lead to 75-71. FAU’s Filer shot an easy 3-pointer to keep the Owls close, but Loving sunk two free throws to keep the Buckeyes ahead at 77-74.
FAU sophomore guard Nick Rutherford hit a jumper 21 seconds after Loving’s free throws to bring the score to 77-76. A free throw by the Owls junior forward William Pfister tied the game up with only 1:21 remaining in the game. And then with one second left in the game, Rutherford hit a jumper to give the Owls a 79-77 lead.