COLUMBUS — Ohio came away with its first road win of the season and upset Ohio State 74-68 on Sunday at Value City Arena.
The Bobcats’ win over the Buckeyes marks the first time Ohio has beat Ohio State in 13 all-time match-ups. Ohio also notched a crucial win over a Power Five school to strengthen its resume for the NCAA tournament in March.
Here are some key takeaways from the game:
Power Five win
The Bobcats were left out of the 2019 NCAA tournament, and a major reason why was due to a lack of strength in their schedule. Coming into this season, coach Bob Boldon made it no secret that he wanted to make Ohio’s nonconference schedule tougher for that very reason.
It was evident with the Bobcats’ first game of the season against No. 20 Syracuse. They kept the game close, but the Orange eventually took control and came away with the victory.
Ohio’s game with the Buckeyes was a different story. After a slow start, Ohio fought back, took control in the second half and closed the door on Ohio State in the fourth quarter despite a late surge from the Buckeyes.
A win over a Power Five team is exactly what Bolden and the Bobcats need when they try to strengthen their resume in March for the NCAA tournament. The Bobcats still have three more match-ups this season against Power Five opponents, with the next one coming on Nov. 29 against Pittsburgh in the Daytona Beach Invitational.
Big Bobcat runs
Ohio trailed the Buckeyes by five at the end of the first quarter. If the Bobcats had lost the second quarter, the game could’ve been out of hand heading into halftime. They needed an offensive spark to keep it close.
Ohio got its spark in the form of a 10-0 run in the middle of the second quarter. The run got started thanks to Cece Hooks scoring five straight points for the Bobcats to keep it close.
Thanks to the run, Ohio was in striking distance at halftime and only trailed Ohio State by two.
The Bobcats got another big run toward the end of the third quarter. Trailing 45-42 with three minutes left in the third quarter, Erica Johnson was the leading factor in a 11-2 run that gave Ohio a 53-47 lead heading into the final quarter. She drained three 3-pointers.
Early Offensive Struggles
The game started out as a defensive battle, and the early battle set the tone for the rest of the game. Neither team hit 20 points until the second quarter.
For the Bobcats, they struggled to convert their early opportunities, shooting 18% from the field in the first quarter. They also went 1-for-6 from behind-the-arc.
Ohio did force six first-quarter turnovers to help slow down the Buckeyes until it found more consistency on offense.