Robert Stack and his trademark tan trenchcoat would be needed to detail Penn State’s mysterious mastery over Ohio State, as for the third time this season, the Buckeyes (24-8, 15-3) fell to the Nittany Lions (21-12, 9-9). This time the score read 69-68 Penn State.
Trailing 68-67 with under five seconds to play, PSU guard Tony Carr drove and found an open Josh Reaves underneath the basket for a dunk with 3.1 seconds remaining. Carr then blocked OSU’s C.J. Jackson on his final desperation three-point attempt.
Carr and Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop both scored a game-high 25 points.
Penn State outrebounded the Buckeyes 39-33 despite being without their top rebounder.
OSU forward Jae’Sean Tate played just 19 minutes due to foul trouble, scoring 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds.
Ohio State got things started by scoring the first four points of the game, but as they have done in the previous two matchups between these teams, Penn State would then go on a 12-0 run to take a 12-4 lead. The Buckeyes then answered with an 11-0 run to take a 15-12 lead.
A three-pointer from Kam Williams gave OSU an 18-15 lead. The Buckeyes held the lead for the next 4:45 until two free throws from Penn State’s Lamar Stevens tied the game at 28-28 with 4:01 remaining in the first half.
Tony Carr gave Penn State a 33-30 lead, but two free throws from Keita Bates-Diop cut the Nittany Lion lead to 33-32 at the half.
A three-point play from Jae’Sean Tate to open the second half recaptured the lead for the Buckeyes, but it was short-lived as the Nittany Lions answered with a 7-0 run to take a 5-point lead.
Penn State built the lead to eight points at 45-37 with 14:23 to play on a Shep Garner layup. Bates-Diop cut it with a three-point play on the next possession, and a couple of possessions later, his dunk made it 46-44 PSU with 11:53 remaining.
Kam Williams tied the game with a layup, but a three by Garner gave Penn State a three-point lead. That lead went away on the next possession thanks to a three-pointer from Bates-Diop with 10:46 to play.
The Nittany Lions opened it back up to six points, but OSU tied it back up at 57-57 on the strength of Bates-Diop’s five-straight points. Williams pulled up for a three to give the Buckeyes a three-point lead on the next possession. Carr answered with a three of his own to make it 60-60 with 4:44 remaining.
Ohio State opened it to four points at 66-62 on a jumper by Bates-Diop. Penn State scored a two on their next possession, which was again answered by a jumper from Bates-Diop. Ohio State led 68-64 with 1:49 to play, but would never score again.
Leading 68-67 with 17 seconds to play and with the ball, Bates-Diop turned the ball over, which led to Penn State’s game-winning dunk.
I don't know. pic.twitter.com/4xIxs3LF66
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) March 3, 2018
Up next for the Buckeyes is a two-week break before the NCAA Tournament. Their next opponent will be announced a week from Sunday.
[Andrew Dakich photo courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com]