Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
There are cold streaks and then there’s what happened to the Ohio State men’s basketball team Saturday against Kansas.
Trailing by two at halftime, the Buckeyes shot just 25 percent from the field and 11 percent from the 3-point line in the second half, including a stretch of more than 10 minutes in which they didn’t make a field goal.
The Buckeyes made four of their first 25 shots in the second half, allowing No. 9 Kansas to pull away for a 74-66 victory against No. 7 OSU.
The frigidity of the Buckeyes shooting did not affect Kansas’ Ben McLemore, who many project to be a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The Jayhawks’ star redshirt freshman scored 22 points and was one of four Jayhawks to reach double figures.
When junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. finally ended another dry spell for the Buckeyes with a jump shot with 2:18 left in the game, the sold-out crowd at the Schottenstein Center let out a sarcastic cheer that was more a release of frustration than a celebration.
The Buckeyes, behind junior forward Deshaun Thomas and sophomore guard Shannon Scott put up a battle, but their 16 and 15 points, respectively, weren’t enough for OSU to earn its first quality win of the season. Kansas took control from the opening tip, flustering OSU with full court pressure in the early going.
Two 3-pointers from sophomore guard Sam Thompson kept OSU in it, but Kansas overpowered the Buckeyes inside to jump out to an 11-6 lead with 14:37 remaining in the first half.
That’s when Scott entered the game and he made his presence immediately felt.
After a 3-pointer from Thomas, the sophomore guard drove to his right past two defenders and laid in a tough shot off the glass. He then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and was fouled going to the rim, making one of two free throws.
Later in the half, Scott scored seven points in a 14-0 run by the Buckeyes that saw the home team take its first lead of the game, 31-23.
But McLemore proved to be too much for the Buckeyes, though.
Kansas’ leading scorer hit three 3-pointers in the first half and scored five straight points in the period’s final minute to help give his team a, 37-35 lead at intermission.
McLemore led all scorers at half with 13 points, while Scott chipped in 10 and also dished out three assists.
Kansas had their way with OSU inside doubling up the Buckeyes, 20-10, on points from the paint in the first half.
OSU fought their way back in the second half, though.
Thomas, as he’s been known to do, went on a scoring binge, putting in eight points in the second half’s first seven minutes to help knot up the score at 45 with 13:31 left in the game.
The crowd rose to its feet, but that’s when the Buckeyes, who shot 46 percent from behind the arc in the first half started their half-long shooting hibernation. OSU missed eight of their first nine 3-point shots in the second half and Kansas jumped out to a 53-48 lead.
When sophomore forward Amir Williams banked in a layup with 8:14 remaining to cut the lead to three, it was OSU’s first made field goal in more than 10 minutes and the Jayhawk lead continued to grow.
Down double digits with more under two minutes remaining, OSU was forced to foul, but Kansas’ free throw shooting was enough to put the game away.
The loss drops the Buckeyes record to 9-2 as Kansas leaves Columbus 10-1.
OSU next plays Chicago State next Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.