CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) –Ohio State erased a 14-point second-half deficit Tuesday night, mounting the comeback after the ejection of Miami scoring leader Jack McClinton to beat the 21st-ranked Hurricanes 73-68.
Jon Diebler scored 20 points and Evan Turner had 19 for the Buckeyes (4-0), who won for only the second time in seven games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Miami (4-2) fell to 0-3 in the series.
Miami led 36-21 late in the first half and 38-24 early in the second but sorely missed McClinton. The senior guard was ejected for a flagrant foul midway through the first half after he took a swipe with the palm of his hand at Ohio State’s Anthony Crater, brushing his face.
The contact came almost immediately after Crater hit McClinton in the face while guarding him.
Crater fell briefly to his knees in pain but remained in the game. The officials consulted a TV replay, then ejected McClinton.
The Hurricanes were already without reserve guard Eddie Rios, suspended indefinitely Tuesday for a violation of team rules. With their backcourt depleted, Ohio State’s full-court pressure began to take a toll in the second half.
Miami committed turnovers on five consecutive possessions, allowing the Buckeyes to run off 13 straight points – six by Evan Turner – to cut the deficit to 38-37.
The Hurricanes rebuilt the margin to eight points before Ohio State made another charge. Turner’s layup with 7:28 left tied the game at 54, and the Buckeyes took their first lead on their next possession when Jeremie Simmons hit a 3-pointer, his first points of the night.
The Buckeyes stayed ahead the rest of the way. Diebler’s sixth and final 3-pointer made it 66-61, and the Hurricanes committed their 18th and final turnover in their backcourt trailing 70-67 with 25 seconds left.
Simmons made both ends of a 1-and-1 with six seconds left to seal the victory.
Lance Hurdle scored 14 points to lead Miami, which shot only 39 percent. McClinton had 12, and Cyrus McGowan added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
McClinton made three early 3-pointers, while the Buckeyes missed seven of their first eight shots and committed five turnovers to fall behind 16-4 after 8 1/2 minutes. Ohio State shot 28 percent in the first half and trailed 36-22 at halftime.