So far this season, the Ohio State Buckeyes have been known to play up (or down) to their competition, whether their opponent on the hardwood is one of the best in the country or one of the worst programs in Division I. This trend continued Saturday afternoon, at least for the first half of the Bucks 86-73 loss to the UCLA Bruins in Las Vegas.
When playing the No. 2-ranked team in the country, you almost have to play a perfect game for an entire 40 minutes in order to beat them, especially if you are unranked, something that the Bucks just couldn’t pull off.
Throughout the first 20 minutes, the scarlet and gray played well and were able to keep up with UCLA’s scoring. The Buckeyes went on a 7-0 run to trail by just three going into the half. Unfortunately for Ohio State, UCLA was able to score the first seven points in the first one minute and six seconds of the second half and the Bruins never looked back. After trailing by just three at halftime, they were outscored 46-36 in the second 20 minutes to keep UCLA’s record remain undefeated at 12-0 and drop the Bucks to 8-3 with just a couple non-conference games remaining.
Ohio State was decent from the field (46.8 percent) but struggled immensely from beyond the arc, making just 20.8 percent of their 24 three-pointers, which is one of the biggest reasons why they lost. They were able to make 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) of their free-throws though, which is definitely a positive head coach Thad Matta can take away from the game.
Three Buckeyes notched double digits: Marc Loving (19 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal), Jae’Sean Tate (15 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block), and Keita Bates-Diop (13 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal).
For what seems like the 11th time already this season, the Buckeyes turned the ball over too much. They racked up 18 turnovers, which is unacceptable against any opponent, but especially against teh second-
UCLA, who was without their starting big-man, had four players score at least 13 points. Although they scored 96 or less points for the first time in the last five games. Their high-powered, run-and-gun offense was slowed down a little on Saturday, but they were still good enough came away with a victory over OSU.
The Buckeyes will be back in Value City Arena on Tuesday night as they play host to the Penguins of Youngstown State who currently rank first in the Horizon League despite a record of 6-6.