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Men’s basketball: Ohio State hot first half stalls in blowout loss against No. 17 Gonzaga, 86-59

Ohio State senior forward Jae’Sean Tate drives against the Gonzaga defense in the Buckeyes’ loss to the Bulldogs at the PK80 Invitational in Portland, Oregon on Nov. 24, 2017. Credit: Courtesy of OSU Athletics

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has continually reiterated that his team will go as Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate go. The veteran forwards struggled Thursday night and so did the Buckeyes. No. 17 Gonzaga (4-0) buried Ohio State (4-1), 86-59, at the PK80 Invitational in Portland, Oregon.

Bates-Diop and Tate entered the game averaging 19.3 points and 10 rebounds on 56.6 percent shooting, and 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds on 65 percent shooting, respectively. Bates-Diop struggled from the field, making only 2-of-7 shots for seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Tate converted 5-of-11 attempts for 12 points and recorded four rebounds.

Guard Josh Perkins and forward Johnathan WIlliams led the Bulldogs to victory with 20 points and four assists, and 21 points and five rebounds, respectively. Gonzaga shot a remarkable 58.5 percent from the field and 48 percent from beyond the arc.

The Buckeyes and Bulldogs battled back and forth during the first half.

After trading leads for most of the first 20 minutes, the two teams suddenly went cold after shooting more than 50 percent each in the first 10 minutes.

Freshman forward Kaleb Wesson and Bates-Diop hit a pair of free throws each to cut the Gonzaga lead to two points, but those were the only four points over the final 8:18 of the half for the Buckeyes.

Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. ended his team’s field-goal drought with a transition layup with 4:32 on the clock and igniting an 11-0 run to end the half.

Ohio State failed to make a field goal in the last nine minutes of the first half and faced a 44-31 halftime deficit after playing well during the game’s first 11 minutes.

Gonzaga freshman forward Corey Kispert exploded for eight quick points in the first three minutes of the second half, including two 3-pointers, and pushed the lead to 52-33.

Tate attempted to spark the Buckeyes in the second half, converting an and-1 opportunity and another bucket to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 52-38. The Bulldogs held off the Buckeyes, going on a 14-6 run spanning over the next seven minutes.

Ohio State began the game making nine of its first 14 shots, but converted only 10 of its final 41.

Turnovers were a major issue for the Buckeyes in the first half. Ohio State turned the ball over nine times, compared to forcing only five Gonzaga turnovers.

Freshman forward Kyle Young started the second half for the Buckeyes after Kaleb Wesson picked up three fouls in the first half. The Buckeyes were forced to go small, playing Young, Bates-Diop and Tate in the frontcourt, with Kaleb Wesson in foul trouble and sophomore center Micah Potter sitting out with an ankle injury.

Ohio State will take on Stanford, who lost 108-87 to No. 7 Florida, at 9 p.m. Friday.

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