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Three takeaways from Ohio State’s painful loss on the road to Nebraska

The Buckeyes losing streak is extended to five.

Ohio State v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes (10-8, 2-5) lost to the Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-9, 3-5) 63-60 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, extending the Buckeyes losing streak to five games.

The Buckeyes were slow to start, scoring just nine points through the first 12 minutes and trailing 12-9 heading into the under-8 media timeout in the first half.

However, despite all of the offensive struggles, the Buckeyes took a 22-21 lead into the halftime period. The Buckeyes have led at the half in two of their last three games, but have been unable to secure wins.

The Buckeyes were led by freshman Brice Sensabaugh, who recorded seven points and six rebounds, but he was just 2-for-11 from the field and the freshman uncharacteristically missed some open mid-range looks.

In the second half, the Buckeyes went on an almost six-minute scoring drought that allowed Nebraska to take a 55-48 lead. After some back-and-forth basketball, the Buckeyes cut the lead to 61-58 after a Brice Sensabaugh three-pointer with 38 seconds remaining, but Nebraska was able to get a couple of defensive stops and hit their free throws late and win the game and won 63-60.

Sam Griesel led the Cornhuskers with 14 points and Brice Sensabaugh led the way for the Buckeyes with 18.

Here are three things we took away from Wednesday night’s contest in Lincoln.

More Roddy Gayle and Eugene Brown

Offense is fun and guys like Brice Sensabaugh, Zed Key, and Sean McNeil can provide it in a hurry. However, when their offense is struggling, it can take a toll on their defensive effort and it led to breakdowns on both ends.

Junior Eugene Brown and freshman Roddy Gayle are not as great of options on the offensive side, but they have shown top-tier defense at times and most importantly during a losing streak, bringing a fresh set of energy and a spark off the bench.

Also, Gayle was a 27-point-per-game scorer his sophomore year in high school (his junior and senior seasons he dealt with injuries) and is a more-than-capable scorer, he is just young and still finding his footing. And Eugene Brown is a solid shooter who showed flashes of his three-and-D game his freshman season.

These guys can help provide a spark off the team while also working on their own individual offensive games which will be helpful in February and March as every team’s depth gets tested.

Brice Sensabaugh should come off the bench

We put a lot of weight into starting lineups and who we see on the floor at the opening tip. However, at this rate, the Buckeyes might be best off bringing their star freshman scorer off the bench.

To be clear, in every game this would involve him coming off the bench and onto the floor at the under-16 media timeout. This is not him sitting out for more than the first four-five minutes of the game.

Sensabaugh is a part of the Buckeyes' best lineup so far, in terms of plus/minus, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Adam Jardy.

To be clear, in every game this would involve him coming off the bench and onto the floor at the under-16 media timeout. This is not him sitting out for more than the first four-five minutes of the game.

What this does is it brings your best scorer off the bench after the starters have played a hard four to five minutes to open the game when the adrenaline is pumping and are tired. Now, Sensabaugh can attack immediately and take advantage of some tired bodies and force some coaches to go to their bench earlier than they might want to, especially teams with less depth than others.

One game at a time

The Buckeyes’ four-game losing streak makes it feel like the sky is falling and in this conference, it can be. Every game is a battle and when you go two weeks without a win, it makes it hard to bounce back. The Buckeyes have gone from a solid 5 or 6 seed in the tournament to being on the bubble.

Ohio State’s next four games are at home against Iowa, at Illinois, at Indiana, and at home against Wisconsin. This is a difficult stretch that involves playing at two of the toughest venues in the conference.

It is still just January and there are a lot of games to be played. If Ohio State wants to get back on track, they have to take each individual game at a time and attempt to stack up some wins. This is a good enough team to win games, they just cannot look forward and have to try to take each game in a vacuum.