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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 16 Ohio State men’s basketball team fell to Syracuse, 72-62, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday night at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes, now 6-1 on the year, suffer their first loss of the season while the Orange improve to 4-2.
C.J. Jackson led the Buckeyes with 19 points while Kaleb Wesson added 13 points and eight rebounds and Kyle Young scored a career-high 12. Tyus Battle paced the Orange with 20 points while Elijah Hughes scored 18 and Oshae Brissett chipped in with 14.
Ohio State connected on its first four shots and held an 8-0 advantage on the boards on its way to a 9-2 lead at the 17:50 mark of the opening half. However, Syracuse outscored the Buckeyes 15-8 over the next 9:01 to knot the score at 17-17 after a Marek Dolezaj 3-pointer with 8:49 remaining in the half. The Buckeyes then regained the lead and held a 31-27 lead with 39 seconds remaining before a late Battle layup made it a 31-29 Ohio State lead at the break.
Jackson led Ohio State, which held a 17-12 lead on boards in the opening 20 minutes, with 11 first-half points while Battle and Dolezaj paced the Orange with eight points apiece.
Syracuse opened the second half on a 10-2 run to take a 39-33 lead with 17:40 to play but the Buckeyes answered with an 8-2 spurt, capped by a Young layup, to knot the score at 41-41 with 14:00 remaining. Then, after Ohio State held a 45-44 advantage with 11:36 left, the Orange went on an 11-0 run over the next 2:38, including six from Hughes, to take a 55-45 advantage. The Buckeyes cut the Syracuse lead to six at 64-68 after a pair of Jackson free throws with 2:56 to play but that’s as close as Ohio State would get, suffering its first loss of the year.
The Buckeyes honored former head coach Thad Matta at halftime, raising a banner recognizing the accomplishments of the program’s all-time wins leader.
Ohio State opens Big Ten play with a 7 p.m. Sunday matchup against Minnesota at Value City Arena.