The first half saw both teams trading scores with neither able to gain a sustainable edge over the other.
With the game tied at 22 apiece, the Buckeyes (4-4) went on an 11-6 run to take a five-point lead with a little more than three minutes left in the half. The Panthers (5-2) closed out the final minutes of the half with an 8-4 run to cut the deficit to one.
In the second half, the teams continued to match each other with the lead changing and the game tying several times.
The game was tied at 56 each with 11 minutes remaining when Pittsburgh started a 14-7 run to pull away from OSU.
The Buckeyes kept fighting back and were able to cut the lead to two after a 3-pointer from junior guard Ameryst Alston. OSU had a chance to regain possession after a missed jumper from Pittsburgh but the Panthers were able to recover and were immediately fouled. Pittsburgh hit both of its free throws to win the game 78-74.
Freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell led all scorers with 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists.
Junior guard Cait Craft added 20 points while shooting 5-of-10 from 3-point range. Freshman forward Alexa Hart recorded her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds and tallied five blocks.
Craft said that OSU’s offense wasn’t to blame for the loss but instead it was the defense that cost them.
“We scored enough to win that game,” Craft said. “We score enough but defensively we don’t want it and it shows.”
Alston noted that the Buckeyes had a chance to use the bonus in their favor toward the end of the second half but made the mistake of taking longer jump shots.
“We were in the bonus and we should have taken advantage of that,” Alston said. “We didn’t take advantage that we were in the bonus and drive to the basket, we settled for 3-point shots.”
Coach Kevin McGuff attributed the loss to OSU not matching the focus and drive of the Panthers in certain parts of the game.
“Overall our energy (and) concentration wasn’t where it needs to be,” McGuff said. “We just couldn’t sustain enough energy and effort to beat (Pittsburgh), they played harder for longer stretches than we did, that’s why they won.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Winthrop (S.C.) on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.