LINCOLN, Neb. — Sophomore sensation Jantel Lavender scored 14 of her game-high 20 points in the second half and converted a key 3-point play late in the game as No. 18 Ohio State came back from 12 points down for a 69-65 win at Nebraska Saturday in a wild game that featured 12 lead changes and eight ties.
The win improves Ohio State to 7-2 while Nebraska slips to 6-2.
With the score tied at 63 with 39 seconds left, Lavender converted an old-fashioned 3-point play when she sank a jump hook in the lane while getting fouled. She then drained the free throw to put Ohio State up 66-63 with 21 seconds left.
But Nebraska wasn’t done. On the Huskers’ next possession, Cory Montgomery was fouled hard by Star Allen on a wide-open layup underneath and hit both free throws cutting the lead to one. Brittany Johnson then hit the second of two free throws to put the Buckeyes back up by two. Nebraska had one last chance, but Tay Hester was called for a charge with 2 seconds left as Nebraska attempted to send the game into overtime.
Lavender recorded her ninth double-double of the season with 10 rebounds while Ashlee Trebilcock and Johnson contributed with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Freshman Samantha Prahalis eight assists and five steals before fouling out with a minute left. Allen finished with eight.
Ohio State trailed 40-28 with 18:38 left in the game and used a 13-0 run to take a 41-40 lead at the 13:03 mark. Johnson’s first bucket of the game came on a 3-pointer from the right corner at 16:46 before Allen found Prahalis on a backdoor cut for a layup, making the score 40-35. Two Allen free throws cut the lead to three and two buckets in transition by Johnson and Prahalis finally gave the Buckeyes their first lead.
Nebraska would eventually go back out in front by six points with 5:46 left when Nicole Neals found a hole in Ohio State’s zone and drained her second 3-pointer of the game from the left corner. But the Buckeyes kept their cool in front of a rauckus crowd and used a 12-4 run to retake the lead once again, setting up the nail-biting finish.
Ohio State jumped out to a 12-10 lead in the first half at the 11:40 mark behind eight points from Trebilcock. But an 11-2 run by Nebraska over the next 4 minutes, highlighted by six points from Catheryn Redmond, gave the Huskers a 21-14 lead. Trebilcock finally stopped the bleeding with her third 3-pointer at the 6:14 mark followed by another one by Maria Moeller on Ohio State’s next possession to cut the lead to 22-20.
Right when it looked Ohio State was digging itself out of a hole in the opening period, Nebraska answered Ohio State’s rally with another 7-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer from Yvonne Turner in transition with just over 3 minutes remaining to give the Huskers a 29-20 lead. Nebraska would take a 36-26 lead into the half.
Nebraska was led by Montgomery’s 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Buckeyes will have a week off for final exams before hosting Cleveland State at Nationwide Arena Dec. 15 and Delaware State at Value City Arena on the 16th. Both games are set for 7 p.m.
Ohio State Postgame Notes:
Jantel Lavender recorded her ninth double-double in as many games this season and the 22nd of her career. She finished with a game high 20 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Buckeyes are now 17-5 when Lavender records a double-double.
Saturday was the fifth meeting in the all-time series. Ohio State has won the last three and leads the series 3-2.
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Foster and the Buckeyes are 16-3 after a loss.
Lavender has scored in double figures in all 40 career games.
Samantha Prahalis, who finished with a game-high eight assists, has dished out four or more in all but one game this season when she had two assists and a season-high 17 points in the come-from-behind win over Dayton.
Prahalis finished with six points. In the three games Prahalis has failed to score in double-figures this season she has recorded 28 assists an average of 9.3 per game.