After falling behind by 19 in the first half, the No. 14 Ohio State men’s basketball team stormed back in the second half, but fell to No. 5 Louisville on the road.
The Buckeyes second-half surge in Louisville, Ky., wasn’t quite enough as they took their first loss of the season, 64-55. The game moved OSU to 5-1 on the season while the Cardinals improved to 6-0.
After falling into a 17-point hole at halftime, OSU outscored the Cardinals, 37-29, in the second half.
At the 16:18 mark, OSU’s leading scorer — freshman guard D’Angelo Russell — committed his fourth foul of the game and was sent to the bench. After the Louisville, Ky., native sat down, OSU didn’t score another point until sophomore forward Marc Loving hit a 3-pointer with just under 12 minutes to play.
Loving’s long ball sparked a seven-point run for OSU, helping the Buckeyes pull within 11 with less than 10 minutes to play.
Loving hit another 3-pointer around the eight-minute mark, cutting the Louisville lead to single digits. But about a minute later, Loving — who was the only player on OSU’s roster in double digits with 13 points at the time — picked up his fifth foul, forcing him to the bench for the final seven minutes of the game.
The Cardinals made it a double-digit lead once again moments later, but OSU redshirt-freshman guard Kam Williams answered with a 3-pointer and was fouled as he shot. Williams converted the free throw to pull the Buckeyes within eight for the first time since he hit a three with 11:41 to play in the first half.
Russell made two free throws with 2:30 on the clock, making it, 56-51, in favor of the Cardinals. He added two more free throws to make it a one-possession game before Louisville made a 3-pointer.
The Cardinals eventually took a 59-55 lead with 30.2 seconds to play and freshman forward Anas Mahmoud at the line. Mahmoud hit one of two, but Louisville picked up the rebound on his miss to keep possession.
OSU couldn’t score the rest of the way as the Cardinals held on to win.
At halftime, OSU was down, 35-18, and shooting just 6-of-26 from the field — or 23.1 percent — and 4-of-8 at the free throw line. The Buckeyes turned the ball over nine times in the first half and were out-rebounded, 28-17.
Louisville — which shot just 35.3 percent in the first half itself — jumped out to its big advantage thanks in part to 16 points from senior forward Wayne Blackshear. The Cardinals also tallied nine assists in the opening 20 minutes, compared to just two for the Buckeyes.
Russell was the only OSU player to make more than one field goal in the first half as he shot 2-of-9 overall and 0-of-3 from 3-point territory.
After his slow start, Russell led OSU with 17 points and tallied all seven of the Buckeyes’ assists. Loving finished as the only other player on the team to score in double digits.
Blackshear led all players with 22 points as the Cardinals shot 35.2 from the field.
OSU finished the game 17-of-56 from the floor.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to Columbus to begin a four-game homestand on Saturday. OSU is set to play Colgate at 4:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.