The Syracuse Orange took a much-needed road victory with a 72-62 win at No. 16 The Ohio State University on Wednesday night at the Value City Arena.
The Orange, entering the game with the Buckeyes were 3-2 record, won the match regardless of heavy foul trouble. The win enabled Syracuse to avoid its first 3-3 start to a season since the 1996-97 campaign.
The Orange suffered losses to Oregon and Connecticut in the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden and Wednesday’s game was its last non-conference game away from the Carrier Dome.
This would be the Buckeyes first loss of the season, now 6-1.
In the ACC/Big Ten Challenge the score would not end with the Buckeyes reaching the 7-0 mark. C.J. Jackson led the Buckeyes with 19 points while Kaleb Wesson added 13 points and eight rebounds and Kyle Young scored a career-high 12. Tyus Battle led the Orange with 20 points while Elijah Hughes added another 18 and Oshae Brissett pumped in 14.
Ohio State connected on its first four shots and held an advantage of 8-0 on the boards on its way to a 9-2 lead with 17:50 being the focal point in the first half. However, Syracuse ran on a power surge, outscoring the Buckeyes 15-8 over the next nine minutes plus, bonding the score at 17-17 after a Marek Dolezaj 3-pointer with 8:49 remaining in the half. The Buckeyes then regained the lead and held a 31-27 lead with 39 seconds remaining before Battle hit a lay-up, making it a 31-29 Ohio State lead at the half.
Jackson led the Buckeyes, which held a 17-12 lead on boards in the opening 20 minutes, with 11 first-half points while Battle and Dolezaj paced the Orange with eight points apiece.
Syracuse opened the second half on a 10-2 run to take a 39-33 lead with 17:40 on the clock, the Buckeyes stepped it up with a 8-2 burst, capped by a Young lay-up, making the score 41-41 with 14:00 minutes left in the game. The Buckeyes, leading 45-44, with 11:36 on the clock, the Orange went on a tear, a 11-0 run over the next 2:38, this included six from Hughes; Syracuse now held a 55-45 advantage. The Buckeyes cut into the Syracuse lead, knocking it down to six at 64-68 after a pair of Jackson free throws with 2:56 remaining. It would be as close as the Buckeyes would get …. suffering their first loss of the season.
The Buckeyes did have a positive note in this by honoring former head coach Thad Matta at halftime, raising a banner recognizing the accomplishments of the program’s all-time wins leader.
The Buckeyes will now meet up with Minnesota, opening up Big Ten play, at Columbus Sunday, the 2nd @ 7:00 p.m.
Still looking Good Guys! Go Buckeyes.