Ohio State vs. Virginia: Score, Reaction for 2016 ACC/Big 10 Challenge
The Virginia Cavaliers feature the country’s most suffocating defense, and they needed it through the final shot during their 63-61 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday.
Ohio State had the ball, down by two points, on the last possession, but the Cavaliers’ swarming defense forced JaQuan Lyle well beyond the three-point line. The guard’s potential game-winning heave fell short, and Virginia moved to 7-0 on the season and 4-0 at home.
It was the Buckeyes’ first loss of the campaign, as they dropped to 6-1. While they lost the game, they dominated the first half and were one shot away from winning on the road against the No. 6 team in the nation, all while playing without the injured Keita Bates-Diop (ankle).
Andrew Ramspacher of the Daily Progress underscored how difficult it is to win at Virginia:
#UVa’s won its last 18 against non-conference foes at home. Last loss was Dec. 4, 2013, to Wisconsin in this same ACC/B1G Challenge.
Andrew Ramspacher (@ARamspacher) December 1, 2016
Virginia outscored Ohio State 39-25 in the second half and forced 20 Buckeyes turnovers. Every Virginia starter notched at least one steal, and Ohio State shot just 6-of-17 from deep.
London Perrantes spearheaded the Cavaliers offense with 19 points and four threes, while Devon Hall added 12 points. Jae’Sean Tate led the way for Ohio State with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Lyle scored 12 points but also committed eight turnovers, with many coming in crucial spots.
Virginia entered the game as the top-ranked team in Ken Pomeroy’s pace-adjusted defensive efficiency ratings, but the Buckeyes dictated the tone early.
The visitors took a 22-14 lead into the under-eight-minute timeout in the first half, holding Virginia to 5-of-19 shooting from the field to that point. That effort, along with 14 points in the paint for Ohio State, had the Cavaliers on upset alert.
Ramspacher noted it was the first time all season that Virginia had allowed more than 21 points in the first half, and Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch pointed out how unusual the start was entertainment news headlines for the Cavaliers defense:
Virginia allowing an average of 13.3 points per game in the paint. #Buckeyes have 14 in first 12:23, lead 22-14 w/7:37 left in half.
Adam Jardy (@AdamJardy) December 1, 2016
C.J. Jackson drilled two consecutive three-pointers to push Ohio State’s lead to 32-16 with less than four minutes remaining until halftime.
Sam Vecenie of Sporting News reacted to Ohio State’s dominant showing in the early going:
Man, Ohio State is just putting it on UVA on the road right now. Total beat down in this half.
Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) December 1, 2016
Virginia was able to cut the deficit to 36-24 by halftime thanks largely to Lyle’s tendency to force things on the offensive end. The sophomore, who committed six turnovers in the first half, threw ill-advised passes and dribbled into traps multiple times.
Tate picked up the slack for his teammate, scoring 12 first-half points as Ohio State shot 60 percent from the field, while no Cavaliers player scored more than five in the opening 20 minutes.
Virginia finally looked like the country’s No. 6 team out of the locker room, opening the second half on an 11-0 spurt. Perrantes and Darius Thompson were each able to get to the rim with ease against Ohio State’s man-to-man looks, and Hall drilled a corner three to trim the deficit to 36-35.
Perrantes then gave the Cavaliers their first lead of the game with a jumper. While the Buckeyes retook the lead, they had bigger concerns when Tate picked up his third foul with more than 12 minutes left.
Even with Tate and Trevor Thompson on the bench with foul trouble, layups by Lyle and Micah Potter stretched Ohio State’s advantage to 50-42. Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports reacted to the Buckeyes’ run:
Poised response from @OhioStateHoops after @UVA took a lead. Attacking on offense early & “squeezing the ” a must to get the dub. #ACCB1G
Clark Kellogg (@ClarkKelloggCBS) December 1, 2016
Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta took a chance and put Tate back in the game, but the forward picked up his fourth foul with more than five minutes left.
The whistle came during a 10-6 Virginia spurt that included two threes by Perrantes and trimmed the Ohio State advantage to 57-55 by the under-four-minute timeout.
The turnover issues came back to haunt Lyle again in the closing stretch, as Marial Shayok picked his pocket and scored on the other end to give the Cavaliers a 59-57 advantage. Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean reacted to the sequence:
I really want to like Ohio State, then I watch JaQuan Lyle run a late possession.
Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) December 1, 2016
Down by two, Ohio State had a chance to win the game in the final minute, but Marc Loving continued the turnover theme with an errant pass that gave Virginia the ball with 22 seconds left.
The Cavaliers took advantage with an Isaiah Wilkins dunk, but the Buckeyes got new life when Shayok missed two free throws. Ohio State called timeout with six seconds left, but Lyle’s desperation three fell short, clinching the win for Virginia.
Ohio State has winnable home games against Fairleigh Dickinson and Florida Atlantic before a two-game stretch against Connecticut and UCLA. The Buckeyes have limited chances to pick up marquee wins on their nonconference schedule, but a victory over the Bruins would look good on Ohio State’s resume.
Virginia doesn’t get much of a break, with its next game coming against No. 25 West Virginia on Saturday, but that will present another opportunity to bolster a potential top-seed resume before ACC play.
Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett reflected on his team’s effort, per Virginia Basketball: “We have played some solid basketball, but we cannot afford a sleepy start. This team can’t do that. The message is ‘be ready.'”
Bennett also praised the home fans, per Virginia Basketball: “The crowd was terrific. When we made that run to start the second half, that’s as good as it gets. One of the best Ive heard.”
On the other side, Lyle discussed his eight turnovers, per Tim Shoemaker of Eleven Warriors: “As the starting point guard, that’s unacceptable.”
Shoemaker noted, “Matta said he still didn’t feel comfortable playing Keita Bates-Diop tonight. Said he’s getting close but still having trouble cutting.”
Tate looked at things from a glass-half-full approach, per Jardy: “I think we showed everybody that Ohio State’s not one to mess with.”
The Buckeyes proved they can play with one of the nation’s best teams on Wednesday, but they will need to cut down their turnovers against future foes to make noise in March. That will be easier against defenses that aren’t Virginia’s.