Ohio didn't play at its highest level in the game's first 38 minutes against Marshall but still found a way to cling to a 69-62 lead with 2:11 to go. Ohio was outscored 12-0 in the game's final two minutes to suffer arguably its most disappointing loss of the season, 74-69.
For the third straight game, Ohio scored less than 75 points. However, Ohio's early shooting suggested a different result. The Bobcats made three of their first six three-point jumpers to take a 9-2 lead. The Bobcats cooled off from three, but the team's movement without the basketball led to easy looks next to the basket. Ohio extended its lead to nine with under five minutes to go in the first half due to its conversion of two-point looks and free throws.
Ohio proceeded to commit five turnovers in the half's final five minutes, contributing to a Marshall 12-4 scoring run to end the half.
Marshall picked up right where it left off to start the second half. The Thundering Herd opened the second half on a 12-6 scoring run to take their first lead of the game. The Bobcats committed six fouls in the first five minutes, allowing Marshall to go to the free-throw line at every foul the rest of the way.
Due to some poor free-throw shooting and turnovers made by Marshall, Ohio responded with its own 10-0 scoring run to regain the lead. After some offensive woes to start the first half, Ohio found success creating space for its guards to take and make mid-range jump shots.
Perhaps Ohio's most improved player in 2023, Aidan Hadaway, knocked down a three-point jumper to extend Ohio's lead to 60-54 with nine minutes to go.
Ohio endured a six-minute run where the team only converted one field goal attempt with some quality defense. Ohio led 63-60 with 3:30 to go when center AJ Clayton made two free throws on back-to-back trips to put the team up seven. After Marshall responded with its own set of free throws, Clayton made a difficult layup to put Ohio up 69-62 with 2:11 to go.
Marshall's Kamdyn Curfman made a three-point jumper on the team's next possession to cut Ohio's lead to four. Elmore James couldn't convert a layup to extend Ohio's lead, and Cameron Crawford cut Ohio's lead to just one with another three-point jumper. Ohio missed back-to-back looks after the team's 14th offensive rebound.
Ohio had no issue grabbing offensive rebounds in the loss to Marshall; the struggle came in converting those offensive rebounds into points as Ohio finished the game with just five second-chance points. Ohio's inability to convert its second-chance opportunities was a key part of its downfall.
On the next possession, Marshall's Obin Anocheli-Killen made the team's third straight three-point jumper off the backboard. Jaylin Hunter's game-tying layup attempt rolled just off the rim and into the possession of Anocheli-Killen.
Anocheli-Killen then made one of two free throw attempts to extend Marshall's lead to three. With 10 seconds to go, Marshall chose to foul up three and put Shereef Mitchell at the free-throw line. Mitchell missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to end Ohio's chances.
Ohio lost the game 74-69.
In the loss, Ohio was led by Hunter with 19 points and five assists. Mitchell and Clayton reached double digits, while Clayton also led the team in both blocks and rebounds.
Ohio Coach Jeff Boals couldn't help but feel like Ohio let a win slip away.
"I thought we controlled pretty much the majority of the game, and I thought it came down to a couple of situations," Boals said. "The last two minutes of the first half, we were up 38-31, and then the last 2:47 of the second half we were up 67-60. Games like that when you have leads, you either have to extend it or finish and they hit some big shots towards the end, obviously give them credit."