WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WCMH) — The first challenge for Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament proved to be too big a challenge after all.
The Buckeyes’ cold shooting, combined with Oral Roberts making 11 three-pointers, sent them to a 75-72 loss in overtime and an early exit from the tournament Friday at Mackey Arena.
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The Golden Eagles’ scoring tandem of Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor took command in overtime, with Abmas scoring three points and Obanor sevem.
The Golden Eagles led by as many as seven points in the second half. E.J. Liddell tied the score at 58 on a jumper for the Buckeyes, who led most of the final three minutes, up until Obanor made two free throws in the closing seconds of regulation to tie it at 64.
Liddell finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes, and Duane Washington had 18 points. Ohio State had 15 turnovers to Oral Roberts’ six. Defensively, Justin Ahrens blocked two shots and the Buckeyes blocked five.
Poor shooting hurt the Buckeyes, who made half of their free throws and 21.7% of their three-point attempts.
Abmas was as dangerous as expected on offense for Oral Roberts, making five three-pointers and scoring 29 points. Obanor also made five three-pointers and had 30 points and 11 rebounds.
Washington led the way in the first half for the Buckeyes, making three three-pointers.
The Buckeyes scored the first seven points of the game before the Golden Eagles rallied to tie the score. Ohio State then pulled ahead 23-15 shortly before getting hit by a cold-shooting spell. Oral Roberts came back and took its first lead at 26-25 with 4:02 left in the first half on the first of consecutive three-pointers by Abmas.
Ohio State entered the game at a disadvantage, missing Kyle Young, who had to sit out because of a concussion. Young also missed two games last week in the Big Ten tournament.
Oral Roberts will meet Florida in the second round on Sunday. The Gators (15-9) defeated Virginia Tech in the first round Friday.
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Here are other things to know about Ohio State and Oral Roberts:
- Ohio State is making its 30th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Buckeyes are 51-28 in tournament games with one national title (1960). The Buckeyes have finished as runners-up four times (1939, 1961, 1962 and 2007) and have been to 10 Final Fours, 14 Sweet 16s and 14 Elite Eights.
- This will be the first meeting between Ohio State (21-9) and Oral Roberts (16-10). The Buckeyes have played members of the Summit League nine times, with an 8-1 record. The Buckeyes are 2-0 vs. Purdue Fort Wayne and South Dakota and 2-1 vs. Denver. Ohio State is 1-0 against North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
- Ohio State entered the Big Ten tournament as the No. 5 seed and defeated No. 13 Minnesota 79-75, No. 4 Purdue 87-78 in overtime and No. 1 Michigan 68-67 before falling to No. 2 Illinois 91-88 in overtime March 14 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.