COLUMBUS, Ohio The Winthrop men’s basketball team played toe-to-toe with seventh-ranked Ohio State but a late run opened up a double-figure lead and the Eagles eventually fell 65-55 to the Buckeyes on Tuesday night at the Value City Arena.
Winthrop (4-5) trailed 44-41 with 11:30 to play in the game after a Gideon Gamble three-pointer, but the Buckeyes began to slowly pull away over the next five minutes behind a tough defense that forced the Eagles into mistakes. Gamble answered a Deshaun Thomas 3 only to see Thomas come back down and drain another tough 3 for a 47-41 Ohio State lead. Winthrop answered again as Derrick Henry hit a 3 for a three-point deficit with 10:42 remaining. At that point Ohio State used a 13-3 run (including 10 straight points) to open up a double-figure lead and hold on for the win as it improved to 8-1 on the year.
The Eagles didn’t fold and even fought back to cut the lead to seven points with 1:03 remaining after James Bourne converted two free throws after being fouled on a rebound on the defensive end. Ohio State converted one free throw on the other end after the Eagles fouled, but trailing by eight points, Andre Smith couldn’t get his three-pointer to fall and Ohio State hit two more free throws for the 10-point win.
“It’s unfortunate as we started making some mistakes down the stretch and getting a little bit loose our consistency and transition defense and the game got away from us a little bit,” said Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey. “I think we outrebounded one of the best rebounding teams in the country, which is an effort statistic, so I think that’s an indication of how hard our young men played.”
Henry paced a balanced attack for the Eagles with a team-high 12 points while Gamble added nine points off the bench and Joab Jerome had eight points. Jerome had a solid defensive performance despite fouling out with 7:08 to play. Christian Farmer came off the bench for seven points.
Winthrop, which trailed at the half, took a 32-31 lead to start the second half on a short baseline jumper from Henry and then led 37-35 after a Jerome reverse lay-up on a drive as the shot clock was winding down.
Thomas, a preseason All-America selection, hit some tough shots and picked up the slack for the Buckeyes’ offense with a game-high 21 points on 7-for-21 shooting.
“I was proud of their effort. I think we came into an unbelievably tough venue against one of the most talented teams in the United States of America that is really well coached and they didn’t blink,” said Kelsey. “I told them I was proud of them, but we can’t get back on that bus and drive home and have an off day tomorrow which we’re going to have and come back to the practice floor on Thursday and think we have any answers or we’ve arrived in any way, shape or form. What’s got us to this point is we had a bunch of really, really hungry young men that have listened and done everything we’ve asked.”
Thomas got the Buckeyes out to an early 5-0 lead after a mid-range jumper followed by a three-ball. Larry Brown’s jumper at the foul line made it 5-2, but then Ohio State ran out to a 9-2 lead at the 17:22 mark thanks to a three-point play by Lenzelle Smith Jr. as it looked like the home team was ready to try and run away early. However, Winthrop was ready for a strong first 20 minutes as it used a 10-3 run to tie the game at 12-12 after a Henry three-pointer.
Following the 11:56 media timeout, Winthrop took its first lead of the game at 14-12 when James Bourne followed his own miss in the paint. After OSU tied the game, Farmer answered with a 3-pointer from the wing for a 17-14 lead with 10:26 to play in the half, and the lead was pushed to five points after Bourne’s catch-and-shoot jumper.
Back-to-back baskets by Evan Ravenel cut the lead to one point, but Jerome drove the lane and scored while being fouled and completed the three-point play for a 22-18 lead with 6:21 left.
The Buckeyes tried to close out the half with a run to open the game up as Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross connected behind the arc on two straight possessions, but Farmer answered with his second three-pointer of the half with 1:42 left. Henry finished off the half on a positive note for the Eagles as he snuck in at the top of the key and picked the pocket of Ross as he went the length of the court for a lay-up as Ohio State led 31-30 at the break.
Winthrop shot 38 percent for the game, including 10-for-26 behind the arc and became the first team on the season to win the battle of the boards against the Buckeyes with a 38-36 advantage. Ohio State shot 39 percent for the game and 15-for-21 from the foul line.
In addition to his 12 points, Henry also added four assists and three rebounds and Jerome pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds.
Winthrop wraps up its three-game road swing on Saturday when it heads to Auburn, Ala., to take on the Auburn Tigers at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on Comcast Sports.
|No. 7 OHIO ST. 65, WINTHROP 55|
Percentages: FG .380, FT .583. 3-Point Goals: 10-26, .385 (Gamble 3-7, Farmer 2-3, Henry 2-6, Smith 2-6, Jerome 1-2, Johnson 0-2). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 1 (Gamble). Turnovers: 14 (Henry 3, Brown 3, Farmer 2, Smith 2, Jerome 2, Gamble 2). Steals: 3 (Henry, Brown, Smith). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .386, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 6-21, .286 (Thomas 3-10, Ross 1-2, Craft 1-2, Smith, Jr. 1-5, Thompson 0-1, Scott 0-1). Team Rebounds: 0. Blocked Shots: 3 (Williams 2, Smith, Jr.). Turnovers: 5 (Williams 2, Ross, Craft, Thomas). Steals: 7 (Craft 3, Scott 2, Thompson, Smith, Jr.). Technical Fouls: None.
Att.–13,707. Officials–Pat Driscoll, Tim Clougherty, Paul Szelc.