LINCOLN, Neb. – Ohio State trailed by 15 points at halftime and slowly chipped away the entire second half before making two clutch baskets in overtime to steal an 80-74 road victory at Nebraska Sunday afternoon.
The Buckeyes (12-9, 5-5) allowed a season-high 49 points in the first half but limited Nebraska (15-7, 5-6) to just 25 points in the second half and overtime.
Trailing 74-72 with just over a minute to play in the extra session, Aaliyah Patty grabbed a rebound and stuck the put-back along with getting fouled. She canned the ensuing free throw to put the Buckeyes up by one. After a Madison Greene steal, Braxtin Miller knocked down a huge three from the wing to push the lead to 78-74 with 35 seconds to play.
Three Buckeyes recorded double-doubles in the game and five players reached double figures led by Miller with 17 points. She made three three-pointers and also dished-out a team-high four assists.
Dorka Juhasz scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high tying 13 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Fellow post Aaliyah Patty notched her third career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Kierstan Bell scored 16 points and had career-highs of 12 rebounds and four blocks for her first collegiate double-double. Her two big baskets late in regulation finally pulled the Buckeyes even and forced overtime.
Freshman forward Rebeka Mikulasikova was the fifth Buckeye in double figures as she knocked-down a pair of threes in the first half and finished with 13 points. Greene had three steals in the game, none bigger than the last one in overtime, and also scored eight points.
The game was truly a story of two halves for the Buckeyes. Nebraska shot 55 percent and made six threes in route to 49 first half points. That was the most points allowed by the Buckeyes in a half since allowing 51 in the second half of the Big Ten Tournament game vs. Wisconsin last March. But after halftime was a different story. The Buckeye defense limited Nebraska to just 6-of-38 shooting for 15.8 percent and forced 10 turnovers.
Despite the defensive effort, the Buckeye needed all of the second half time make up the 15 point halftime deficit. They cut the lead to three at one point in the third quarter but the Cornhuskers pushed the lead back to 59-53 heading to the fourth.
A lay-up by Bell with 5:39 to play in regulation cut the margin to two but again, Nebraska shoved the lead back out to six a minute later. A Nicea Eliely three with 3:25 to play felt like a dagger as that again gave the Cornhuskers a 68-62 lead.
Bell knocked away a pass in the back court and drove in for a lay-up with 1:45 to play to cut the Nebraska lead two two. Then after another Husker miss inside, Bell knocked down a jumper from just outside the free throw line on the ensuing possession to tie the game with 1:03 left. Neither team was able to convert in the final minute of regulation and the game headed to overtime tied at 68-68.
Nebraska took a 74-72 lead on a free throw with 2:40 to play in the extra session but that would be the Huskers’ final points. Patty’s three-point play and Miller’s three gave the Buckeyes the lead for good and secured their second overtime road victory of the season.
Ohio State remains on the road as it heads to Illinois for the second meeting with the Fighting Illini this season. The Buckeyes won the first meeting 77-47 on Jan. 19 after outscoring the Illini 40-10 over the final 15 minutes.