CINCINNATI, Ohio – It won’t go down as one of Ohio State’s prettiest games but the Buckeyes pulled out a hard-fought overtime victory on the road Wednesday night at Cincinnati 78-73.
The game featured nine ties and 13 lead changes, including five in the overtime period. Ohio State was 5-of-6 shooting and 5-of-7 from the line in the extra period.
Playing in just her second game as a Buckeye, junior transfer Braxtin Miller led the team with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 3-of-4 from long range. She also had five rebounds and four steals.
The other star of the night for the Buckeyes was sophomore guard Janai Crooms. The Cranston, R.I., native notched the first double-double of her career with 10 points and a career-high 12 assists. She also chipped-in with three steals and tied a career-high with three blocks.
Fellow sophomore Dorka Juhasz played a good game inside, finishing one rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine boards.
A pair of freshmen in Madison Greene and Jacy Sheldon came up clutch for the Buckeyes down the stretch. Greene was 4-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the line to finish with 13 points while Sheldon scored all seven of her points in the extra session. Sheldon’s three-pointer with 2:23 to play in overtime put the Buckeyes ahead for good.
Sophomore Aaliyah Patty battled foul trouble but added nine points, five rebounds and three blocks.
The Bearcats had two players notch 20+ points led by IImar’I Thomas with a game-high 25 points. Antoinette Miller made big plays at the end of regulation to help force overtime as she finished with 20 points.
The Buckeyes led 18-16 after the first quarter that saw Miller score eight points. The Bearcats opened the second quarter with a 10-2 run to take a 26-20 lead. Ohio State then got a couple stops which keyed a 15-0 run of its own to put the Buckeyes back in front 35-26. Patty had eight points and Greene added five points during the spurt. UC capped the half with a three-ball and OSU led 35-29 at the break.
Cincinnati shot 50 percent in the third quarter and out-scored Ohio State 22-17 to knife the lead to one heading to the fourth. A three-pointer by Miller on the first possession of the fourth quarter pushed the lead to four and it jumped to six after a Greene jumper with 5:27 to play. But UC hung tough and got a nice driving lay-up with 16 seconds to play by Miller to tie the game at 62-62. Crooms’ driving lay-up attempt on the other end fell off the rim and the Bearcats’ three at the buzzer was no good.
In overtime, the teams traded free throws and lay-ins for the first two minutes before Sheldon’s clutch three from the wing put the Buckeyes up 71-69 with 2:23 to go. UC tied the game on the next possession but Juhasz cleaned-up a miss with a put-back and after a Bearcat turnover, Sheldon scored on the break to give the Buckeyes the breathing room it needed to pull out the victory.
Ohio State returns home to host Ohio on Sunday afternoon in the team’s home-opener. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at Value City Arena.