Young’s go-ahead basket lifts Buckeyes
COLUMBUS — Kyle Young scored the go-ahead basket with 63 seconds left and Ohio State held off Penn State 74-70 in a Big Ten game on Thursday night.
The Buckeyes (15-7, 5-6) were 25-9 last season but lost three times to Penn State, including the semifinals of the conference tournament.
“They beat us three times last year, probably one of the reasons we don’t have a (Big Ten title) ring right now,” Ohio State forward Andre Wesson said. “With that motivation coming into the game we knew we had to get this one.”
Penn State had taken a 70-69 lead when Josh Reaves stole the ball from Wesson in the backcourt and scored on a slam with 1:34 left.
After Young’s bucket put the Buckeyes ahead, Lamar Stevens thought he gave Penn State a 72-71 lead with 32.2 seconds left, but it was ruled after a review that he did not beat the shot clock off the inbound play.
Wesson was fouled and made one of two free throws for 73-71 lead with 29.7 seconds left. Penn State’s Rasir Bolton missed an open layup and the Nittany Lions C.J. Jackson, who made a pair of foul shots. Penn State (8-15, 1-11) missed its final two attempts.
“Hard fought battle. Penn State, Ohio State. It seems like it always is,” Nittany Lions coach Patrick Chambers said. “I’m proud of our guys. We got down 15 (in the first half). We went down again in the second half and we just kept fighting back.”
Wesson and Jackson each had 15 points for the Buckeyes, who committed 18 turnovers but won for the third time in four games after a five-game losing streak.
Stevens and Reaves both had 20 points and Bolton added another 15 for Penn State.
There were 44 fouls (23 for Penn State, 21 for Ohio State) and the Nittany Lions had two of the three technical fouls in a game that took 2:24 to play.
“I need a nap,” we’re the first words in Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann’s postgame press conference. “That was a rugged, Big Ten fight. That’s for sure.”
Ohio State made 23 of 29 free throws (79.3 percent), the Nittany Lions went 14 of 18 (77.8).
“I can’t put my finger on it but it’s definitely a nice little rivalry here,” Chambers said.
Muhammad said it was the type of game Ohio State needed.
“This is going to help us for the future,” he said. “This is what you play the game for, tough games like this and high-level games and intensity.”
TAKE A BOW
The biggest cheers of the night, not surprisingly, were for recently retired Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer when he and the reigning Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion Buckeyes were honored during a first-half timeout.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are in a stretch where they can make up ground in the standings and improve their chances to make the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season.
After consecutive road games, the task doesn’t get much easier for the Nittany Lions, who host No. 7 Michigan on Tuesday.