In its search for a signature win, Ohio State (10-4, 2-0 Big Ten) could not contain No. 5 North Carolina’s 3-point shooting, with the Buckeyes falling 86-72 Saturday.
The Tar Heels (11-2) finished the game 13-for-25 from beyond the arc and outrebounded the Buckeyes 39-25. Ohio State shot just 44.1 percent (26-for-59) from the field and 31.2 percent from 3-point range (5-for-16). North Carolina’s bench, led by redshirt senior guard Cameron Johnson’s 14 points, outscored Ohio State’s bench 32-6.
North Carolina’s 3-point success began early when forward Theo Pinson, guard Joel Berry II and Johnson hit three wide-open triples, the last of which put the Tar Heels ahead 11-8. Pinson and Berry each finished with 19 points.
Ohio State junior guard C.J. Jackson tied the game up at 11 with a 3 of his own with 12:05 left. Jackson accounted for Ohio State’s first 11 points, and finished with 19 points. Redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and freshman center Kaleb Wesson were the only other Buckeyes to finish with double-digit points. Bates-Diop had 26 and Wesson had 12.
The Buckeyes kept the game close early, but after the under-eight media timeout, North Carolina freshman guard Jalek Felton took over, knocking down three-straight 3-pointers and dropping in a lay-up. Junior guard Kenny Williams’ 3-pointer also contributed to the Tar Heels’ 14-3 run, which propelled them to a 31-23 lead.
The half ended with Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann picking up a technical foul for arguing with the referees after a blocking foul on Wesson. The Tar Heels made two of the four free throws, capping off a 10-0 run to end the half and go up 41-27. The 14-point halftime deficit was Ohio State’s largest this season.
The two teams both exchanged momentum to start the second half, with Ohio State going on a 7-3 run before North Carolina responded with a 7-2 run to go up 51-36. That trend continued for the rest of the game, with North Carolina seemingly matching every Ohio State run with a run of its own. The Buckeyes never managed to trim the deficit within seven for the second half.