Though Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop was questionable to start Thursday night’s game against Penn State with an illness, he was able to start for the Buckeyes, and when the team needed him most.
With his team trailing by nine points with just over a minute left in the game, Bates-Diop made back-to-back 3s to bring Ohio State to within three. Senior forward Jae’Sean Tate made a layup to bring the game to within one point.
With 15 seconds left and two made free throws by Penn State, Ohio State put all of its hopes of extending its win streak on the shoulders of Bates-Diop, who made a back-breaking 3-pointer with five seconds left to tie the game and seemingly send the game to overtime.
Somehow, it was not enough. Sophomore guard Tony Carr banked in a buzzer-beating 3 to win the game for Penn State 82-79.
No. 13 Ohio State (18-5, 9-1 Big Ten) was outscored 44-42 in the second half, dropping its first conference game of the season to Penn State (14-8, 3-5 Big Ten).
Penn State was led by Carr, who finished the game with 28 points, five rebounds and five assists, shooting 9-of-12 from the field. Senior guard Shep Garner made 4-of-5 shots from 3 to finish the game with 14 points.
For the majority of the game, the Buckeyes seemingly had nothing but rim-rattlers and near-makes from 3-point range, while Penn State made 11-of-14 from beyond the arc. But Ohio State finished the game strong on 3-point shooting thanks to the makes by Bates-Diop, going 7-for-15 overall. Bates-Diop finished with a team-leading 25 points.
The two teams came out of halftime trading leads with five changes in the first four minutes. Penn State finally settled in with a 48-43 lead after going on a 6-0 run off three straight turnovers. The Nittany Lions added to that run with two more free throws after senior forward Jae’Sean Tate’s third foul of the night and Ohio State’s sixth of the half in just under five minutes of play.
Trailing by 10, Ohio State made a push with a layup from Tate and redshirt senior guard Andrew Dakich. But Penn State with responded with a 10-4 run to bring the score to 67-54 and seemingly push the game out of reach. Tate finished the game with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Penn State came out of the gate untouchable from beyond the arc, draining five straight 3-point attempts — all from the wing and a few steps behind the line — to take an early 16-6 lead after the first media timeout.
Bates-Diop subbed out earlier than normal at the 14:49 mark in the game. He had missed his first shot before being replaced. Tate provided the Buckeyes with all their points during Bates-Diop’s one-minute long absence, drawing two fouls in the paint and making four free throws.
After falling behind 20-8 with 14:13 left in the first half, Ohio State went on a 17-9 run to draw the game to within four points. Penn State added a point on a free throw, but Bates-Diop knocked down a wide-open 3-pointer and floated a tear-drop jump-shot from the paint to tie the game at 30.
Ohio State closed out the first half on a 4-0 run to draw the game to 38-37 while Penn State limped to the halfway mark without scoring in the last 2:27 of the half.