An upset was not in the cards for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, as the Buckeyes fell to the No. 2 UCLA Bruins 86-73 in the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas.
After matching pace with UCLA throughout the first half, the Buckeyes fell victim to the up-tempo Bruins offense and the big-play ability of freshman guard Lonzo Ball. Despite 15 team turnovers, an eight point, nine assist and nine rebound performance by Ball powered the Bruins’ 12th win.
OSU was led by senior forward Marc Loving, who knocked down 7-of-11 shots, including a 3-for-6 mark from deep to rack up 19 points. Junior forward Jae’Sean Tate added 15 points, but was a non-factor in rebounding and assists, picking up just two boards and one assist.
Holding true to its defensive efforts all season, UCLA struggled to limit open looks at the basket for the Buckeyes. As a team, OSU went 29-for-62 from the field, but struggled to find the mark from deep for the second-straight game.
The lack of outside production (20.8 percent from 3), paired with 18 turnovers, doomed the Buckeyes down the stretch. OSU was able to grab a 26-25 lead with 6:30 remaining in the first with a bullet pass from sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle to junior forward Keita Bates-Diop that led to a wide-open layup. Bates-Diop finished with 13 points, while Lyle hit just one of his eight shot attempts.
However, starting the second half, a 7-0 run by the Bruins two minutes into the period pushed UCLA out in front, and left OSU scrambling to try and catch back up. The Buckeyes did themselves no favors, turning the ball over 10 times in the second, and fouling the Bruins 15 times.
Late in the game, after pulling within six points, OSU allowed multiple open looks for UCLA, and the Buckeyes failed to make a field goal in the last 4:05.
UCLA sophomore guard Aaron Holiday and senior guard Bryce Alford each poured in 20 points, with five steals from the sophomore guard.
With the loss, The Buckeyes are now 8-3 this season. UCLA is still perfect, now with a 12-0 mark this year.
OSU returns to Columbus Tuesday to face Youngstown State at 7 p.m. The Penguins are 6-6, and are coming off a 101-97 victory over Niagara University.