Buckeyes’ Season Comes To An End In 79-77 Loss To Georgia In NIT

COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s season has come to an end following a hard-fought 79-77 loss at home to Georgia (20-16) in the NIT quarterfinals. The Buckeyes finish the year with a 22-14 record.

Georgia led for the majority of the second half, but the Buckeyes mounted an incredible comeback. Ohio State trailed 64-53 with 9:51 left in the game but then went on a 17-0 run to take a 70-54 lead five minutes later.

But the Bulldogs did what they had done every time the Buckeyes made a run — they answered right back, this time dropping in consecutive three-pointers from Blue Cain and Noah Thomasson to tie it back up.

A Thomasson jumper gave Georgia a 77-76 lead with 36 seconds remaining. Buckeye forward Jamison Battle missed a three on OSU’s next possession, and then Cain made a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 79-76.

Ohio State point guard Bruce Thornton was fouled on the next possession but made just one of his two free throws. Cain turned the ball over, however, giving the Buckeyes a pair of chances to tie or win the game. It didn’t happen, however, as both Thornton and Battle missed three-pointers in the game’s final seconds.

Battle led all scorers with 22 points. Thomasson led the Bulldogs with 21 points. Thornton finished with 13 points and 10 assists.

The game wasn’t separated by more than three points until Georgia scored a pair of three-point plays to make it 15-8 with 12:57 left in the first half. Those two scores sandwiched two Ohio State turnovers, three missed field goals, and two personal fouls.

The Buckeyes responded with a 7-0 run to tie the game, started by a three-point play from Devin Royal and capped with a jumper from Taison Chatman. The Bulldogs recaptured the lead, extending it to 23-19 following a layup from Justin Hill at the 6:29 mark.

The Buckeyes again responded, this time with an 8-0 run led by threes from Thornton and Battle, and a dunk from Felix Okpara. The two teams then traded the lead back and forth, ending with Georgia leading 36-35 at the break.

The Bulldogs began the half on a 10-2 run bolstered by threes from Cain and Thomasson. The lead grew to 51-39 at the 15:50 mark. Ohio State responded with another 8-0 run, featuring baskets from Zed Key and Battle. But Georgia again answered back, going on a 9-0 run to build their largest lead at 60-47.

Ohio State then began their aforementioned 17-0 run.

The Buckeyes went 8-3 under new head coach Jake Diebler.

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