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Ohio State vs. Florida Atlantic 2016 final score: Buckeyes upset by the Owls, 79-77, in OT

If you keep playing down to your level of competition, eventually, you’re going to lose.

NCAA Basketball: Fairleigh Dickinson at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Playing down to inferior competition is embarrassing. You know what’s worse? Losing to it.

That’s what happened to Ohio State, as the team shot 4-20 from downtown, gave up nine threes, and struggled mightily with FAU, eventually losing in overtime, 79-77. KenPom gave the Buckeyes a 97% chance to win, but hey, that’s why you play these games.

The Buckeyes had a chance to win the game in regulation, but failed to get a shot off with six seconds left as JaQuan Lyle lost the ball while driving to the basket.

The teams traded baskets all during overtime, with the game tied at 77 with 21 seconds left. Marc Loving mishandled a pass, giving the Owls the final possession, which they converted.

Buckeye fans hoping for a fast start after watching Ohio State struggle in the first half against woeful Fairleigh Dickinson would be disappointed again.

The Buckeyes opened the game shooting 1-9, while also letting the Owls get multiple open looks from three, a point of emphasis for their offense, as FAU took an early eight point lead. Ohio State quickly battled back, but was unable to gain any distance, thanks to timely Owl three-balls and Ohio State’s inability to finish near the basket. The Buckeyes shot only 36.7% in the first half, and lead 32-31.

The two teams continued to trade baskets into the second half, with Ohio State nursing a tiny 41-40 lead with 15:32 left in the game. It looked like the Buckeyes would finally blow the game open, as they started to finally utilize their size advantage, pushing inside for higher percentage shots. But the Owls charged back on a 19-4 run, thanks to the Buckeyes settling for jacking up threes and with the Owls hitting a few tough shots. FAU lead 66-62 with four minutes left, and despite an Ohio State rally, it wasn’t enough.

Ohio State was putrid from downtown, and really, all over the court.

JaQuan Lyle was mostly very good, dropping ten points, seven boards and nine dimes. Five Buckeyes finished with at least ten points. But his teammates struggled, as nobody else scored more than 16. That player was Trevor Thompson, who fouled out in overtime.

Adonis Filer lead all scorers, with his 23 points for the Owls. Frank Booker added 15, as the Owls shot 43% from the floor.

Three things we learned:

  1. Ohio State continues to play down to their level of competition. The good news for Ohio State fans is that there’s really only one more true cupcake left on this schedule, when Youngstown State comes to town. But FAU was another example of the Buckeyes failing to put away a team where they had an overwhelming talent advantage. FAU was picked to finish near the bottom of Conference USA, and had already lost to teams like Texas State and Hawaii, but thanks to Ohio State defensive lapses and a failure to match any sense of intensity, they were able to get a massive upset. The Buckeyes now really need to beat either UConn or UCLA, or this game will be an albatross around Ohio State’s RPI.
  2. Ohio State is a better team with Keita Bates-Diop. KBD missed the last several games as he recovered from an ankle sprain, and came off the bench against the Owls, but one could already see what he brings to the table, even in limited minutes, against inferior competition. KBD added five points in the first half, and finished with 10 on the night, as his length caused problems for FAU on offense. When he’s healthy and engaged, KBD provides floor spacing for Ohio State, the ability to defend multiple positions, and high upside that other players don’t have. They’ll need that more and more as they get later into the season.
  3. Look. Ohio State just lost in OT against Florida Atlantic. Let’s just agree to not talk about this game ever again.