Minnesota's struggles away from Williams Arena continued Sunday afternoon, as the Gophers dropped an 85-63 decision at #20 Ohio State to fall to 13-8 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten. This season, the Gophers are 11-1 at home, but just 2-7 in road and neutral court games.
Ohio State never trailed in the game, which was tied three times in the early going, but the Buckeyes (16-6, 6-3 Big Ten) made 73 percent of their first-half field goals to build a 16-point lead with 2:15 left in the half, and Minnesota never got closer than 11 points the rest of the game.
The Gophers, who had defeated the Buckeyes, 73-62, on January 9 at Williams Arena, shot the ball well by making 25-of-49 (.510) field goals, but turned it over 17 times and were outrebounded, 28-22. Ohio State cooled off a bit in the second half, but the Buckeyes still made 34-of-54 field goal attempts for 63.0 percent, including 9-of-20 (.450) three-pointers.
Minnesota was led by 13 points off the bench from freshman forward Rodney Williams, who made 5-of-6 field goals and added four rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Sophomore forward Ralph Sampson III added 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting, while pulling down four rebounds and dishing out four assists. Senior forward Damian Johnson and junior guard Blake Hoffarber each chipped in with 10 points, with Hoffarber also leading the Gophers with six rebounds in the setback.
But Ohio State's William Buford (26 points), Evan Turner (19 points), and Jon Diebler (19 points) accounted for enough points to outscore the Gophers in the 22-point victory. Ohio State's starting lineup accounted for all but four of its 85 points in the game.
Buford made 10-of-14 field goals, including 4-of-5 from long-range, while Turner connected on 9-of-14 field goals and added eight assists and four steals. Diebler made 5-of-9 three-pointers, including one as time expired in the first half to push OSU's 11-point lead to 14 points, 49-35, heading to the lockerroom.
Senior guard Lawrence Westbrook finished with seven points for the Gophers, while sophomore guard Devoe Joseph had five points and four assists, but struggled with four turnovers. Freshman guard Bryant Allen, who played football for the Gophers this fall, saw his first action late in the game.
Minnesota returns to the court with a road game at Penn State on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.