COLUMBUS, Ohio — On a night where Ohio State honored their winningest head coach in the history of their men’s basketball program, the Buckeyes suffered their first loss of the 2018-19 season as they fell to Syracuse, 72-62, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Ohio State quickly jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game as the Buckeyes made their first four shots of the night.
The Buckeyes’ shooting would cool off after that as they missed their next six shots, but Ohio State still held a 9-5 lead over Syracuse throughout their scoring drought.
The Orange came charging back over the course of the next several minutes as they tied it up at 17 with 8:49 left in the first half.
The two teams would go back and forth for the rest of the half, but Ohio State took a slight 31-29 lead over Syracuse into the half.
Syracuse came out of the half on fire as a quick 10-2 run gave the Orange a 39-33 lead just over two minutes into the second half.
Ohio State fought their way back, however, as the Buckeyes tied the game up at 41 with 14 minutes left in the game.
The two teams would trade blows for the next few minutes but Syracuse started pulling away midway through the second half as they took a commanding 59-47 lead with 6:21 left in the game as Ohio State failed to make a basket over a stretch of 7:47.
Syracuse would hold on in the final minutes of the game after several fouls by Ohio State to win, 72-62 as the No. 16 Buckeyes lost their first game of the 2018-19 season to fall to 6-1 on the season.
C.J. Jackson led the way for Ohio State in the loss with 19 points as well as grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists.
Kaleb Wesson turned in a 13-point, 8-rebound performance against the Orange in the Buckeyes’ loss, but 11 of his 13 points came at the free throw line as Wesson finished the game just 1-8 from the field.
Kyle Young was the only other Buckeye to score in double digits against Syracuse as he posted 12 points on 3-6 shooting on a night where Ohio State didn’t have their particularly best shooting performance as the Buckeyes shot just 33% from the field for the game, their lowest shooting percentage of the season so far.
Ohio State did end up winning the rebounding battle as they out-rebounded Syracuse, 31-29. However, the Orange did out-rebound Ohio State in the second half which helped them pull away in their victory over the Buckeyes.
Despite the loss, it was a special night for the Ohio State men’s basketball program as they honored their former head coach Thad Matta at halftime of the game.
Matta was given a video tribute featuring former players addressing the coach as well as some of the best game highlights from the Matta era.
Matta was then brought out onto the court to give a speech as a banner was unveiled in the rafters of The Jerome Schottenstein Center for the former coach. The banner listed his number of Big Ten championships, his two Final Four appearances and his 337 wins, which are an Ohio State record.
You can read more on his honoring here.
Ohio State will now regroup as they get ready to head into their conference slate as they open up Big Ten play this Sunday, December 2nd at home against Minnesota. Tip-off on Sunday is scheduled for 7:00pm ET and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
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