COLUMBUS, Ohio No. 15 Ohio State suffered its first loss of the season to No. 24 Auburn, 67-58, Sunday at St. John Arena in the championship game of the Klosterman Buckeye Classic.
Freshman Jantel Lavender, who has scored in double-figures in each game this year and named to the all-tournament team, led the Buckeyes with 22 points and a season-high 17 rebounds.
Tournament MVP Whitney Boddie paced the Tigers (6-0) with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Sherell Hobbs led Auburn with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting while DeWanna Bonner chipped in with 16.
Ohio State senior guard Marscilla Packer couldn’t get going offensively Sunday and was held to seven points by Auburn’s perimeter defense.
“My shots were all rushed and not focused,” Packer said after the game. “I needed to just settle down and relax and get into my game. I also needed to think of what I could have done to counteract their defense.”
The Buckeyes were held without a 3-pointer for the first time since their victory over Kentucky last January.
“We need to practice getting our shots off,” head coach Jim Foster said. “We will also have to challenge the younger players more. Our transition today was too quick and rushed. We need to work on a more relaxed and consistent offensive transition.”
The Buckeyes (5-1) trailed 40-30 at the half and were able to cut the Auburn lead to 63-55 on a Tamarah Riley layup with 3:56 left in the game. But that was as close as OSU came in the final minutes. While Ohio State won the battle of points in the paint, 36-26, Auburn was able to turn 14 Buckeye turnovers into 23 points.
With the loss, the Buckeyes drop to 26-3 in the month of November and 80-7 at home in the Jim Foster era. The loss also marked Ohio State’s first defeat in the Buckeye Classic since OSU lost 79-73 to Penn State in the championship game in 1991.
Junior forward Star Allen added seven points. Shavelle Little made her sixth start of the season and finished with six points and four steals. Riley and Brittany Johnson each finished with six points off the bench.
The Buckeyes (5-1) will travel to face No. 3 Maryland in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPNU before coming home to host Mississippi next Sunday. Game time is 1 p.m.
Colgate defeated Winston-Salem State in Sunday’s consolation game, 58-39, to take home third place.
Whitney Boddie – Auburn
Sherell Hobbs – Auburn
DeWanna Bonner – Auburn
Jantel Lavender – Ohio State
Caitlin Gillard – Colgate
Keoshia Worthy – Winston-Salem State
Tournament MVP: Whitney Boddie – Auburn