Ohio State suffered its second loss on Sunday, falling to West Virginia in a game defined by turnovers and physical play.
No. 22 West Virginia (11-1) dealt No. 2 Ohio State (11-2) its first ranked loss of the season with a 67-59 win in Cleveland Sunday. It was the Mountaineers’ eighth win in their past nine meetings with the Buckeyes.
Down three with just over a minute remaining, Ohio State looked like it had forced Mountaineers freshman guard Miles McBride into a tough, contested shot. But McBride hit the one-footed jump shot, which proved to be the dagger in the Buckeyes’ heart.
The possession before, Ohio State sophomore guard Luther Muhammad was blocked on a 3-point attempt that the Ohio State coaching staff appeared to believe was a foul.
The Mountaineers followed McBride’s jumper with a pair of sophomore guard Jordan McCabe free throws with 58 seconds remaining to take a seven-point lead. The Buckeyes wouldn’t come within four the rest of the way.
In front of a mix of 16,781 Buckeye and Mountaineer fans, Ohio State controlled the first half, pulling ahead by as many as nine. It led by six entering the break after West Virginia sophomore guard Sean McNeil’s 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining in the half.
West Virginia stormed back in the second half and took a one-point lead on a McBride jump shot with 13 minutes remaining, following five Ohio State turnovers in a span of two minutes.
Freshman guard D.J. Carton answered with 11:49 remaining, hitting a triple of his own on a pass from sophomore guard Duane Washington following a sequence where bodies on both sides went diving on the floor.
The game bounced back and forth in the final 10 minutes, with neither team holding a lead bigger lead than five points until McCabe’s pair of free throws put the game away.
In a game defined by fouls, turnovers and pressure defense, West Virginia managed to prevail, making eight 3-pointers on 20 attempts and holding Ohio State to 22 second-half points.
West Virginia forced 16 turnovers in its last game against Youngstown State, and wasted no time forcing the Buckeyes into giveaways. Ohio State turned the ball over five times before the first media timeout, with three coming from junior forward Kaleb Wesson.
The Buckeyes finished with 21 turnovers, including five from Carton and four each from three Ohio State starters.
The Mountaineers’ two leading scorers, freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe and sophomore forward Derek Culver, finished the first half with three fouls each.
Ohio State held Tshiebwe and Culver to a combined seven points, but McBride scored 21 and the Buckeyes’ turnovers proved too big a hurdle to clear.
West Virginia entered the game shooting 31.1 percent from distance, but shot almost ten percent above that against Ohio State behind McBride’s three shots from behind the arc.
As a team, Ohio State shot just 31.3 percent –– its lowest this season.
The Buckeyes were led by Kaleb Wesson’s 17 points and nine rebounds, but he shot just 3-11 from the floor. Three other players added double-digit scoring totals for Ohio State.
Ohio State will travel home to Columbus and take on Wisconsin Jan. 3 at 7 p.m.