Buckeyes’ Season Ends In Second-Round NCAA Tournament Loss To Blue Devils

COLUMBUS — The Buckeyes had 15 minutes of fame and then 25 minutes of pain.

Ohio State led by as many as 16 points in the first half, but poor perimeter shooting and Duke’s consistency from the field were eventually too much to overcome as the Buckeyes (26-6) fell to the Blue Devils (21-11) 75-63 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Duke guard Reigan Richardson led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 3-of-3 from three-point territory. She scored 16 of those points in the second half.

The Buckeyes’ first three-pointer did not fall until there were 12 seconds remaining in the game, and by that point the Blue Devils held a 73-63 lead.

The game wasn’t always leaning in Duke’s favor, however. They scored two field goals in the first two minutes of the game, but then went the next 11 minutes without a field goal. In the span of time between those two baskets, the Buckeyes built up a 25-12 lead with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half.

Unrelenting defensive pressure from Ohio State forced Duke into eight turnovers in the game’s first 15 minutes, and when the Blue Devils actually kept possession of the ball, they were rarely able to set up an offense against OSU’s attack. The Buckeyes built a 30-14 lead over those first 15 minutes, but then Duke finally started hitting shots.

Ohio State sandwiched layups from Jacy Sheldon and Cotie McMahon between a trio of three-pointers from the Blue Devils. McMahon kept them at arm’s length with baskets, but Duke eventually came back within reach, finishing the half on a 9-0 run to cut OSU’s intermission lead to 36-32.

After shooting 2-of-11 from the field in the first period, Duke hit 8-of-13 shots in the second period, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, continued to shoot well, but Duke’s success on the glass allowed them to lead OSU 6-2 in second-chance points in the first half.

There was more of the same in the third quarter, as the Blue Devils outrebounded the Buckeyes 10-5, but there were no Duke second-chance points because they shot 8-of-11 from the field. Ohio State, meanwhile, hit just 4-of-14 from the field. Three of those field goals were by McMahon.

Duke’s first lead of the game came via a Delaney Thomas layup to make it 49-47 Blue Devils with 1:26 left in the third quarter. The lead flipped back and forth during the fourth quarter until Reigan Richardson hit three jumpers in a row, including a three-pointer. Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff was forced to call a timeout with four minutes remaining as the Buckeyes went down 63-57.

A difficult layup from Taylor Thierry cut it to a 4-point deficit with 3:13 remaining, but Richardson answered again with another basket. The lead grew from there and the Buckeyes ultimately had no answer in the game’s final minutes.

Cotie McMahon scored a team-high 27 points for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State finished 1-11 from three-point territory and 18-27 from the free throw line. They were outrebounded 38-20.

The Box Score

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