COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State pulled off it’s biggest win of the season thus far, shutting down No. 2 Louisville down the stretch and dealing the Cardinals their first loss.
Dorka Juhasz scored 15 points and Kierstan Bell added 14 as Ohio State upset Louisville 67-60 in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game on Thursday night.
Louisville (8-1) had vaulted six spots in the AP Top 25 to No. 2 behind Stanford this week after knocking off then-No. 1 Oregon last weekend in the the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.
“This is another game we showed we are a top team,” Juhasz said.
Ohio State (5-3) took a 60-53 lead with five minutes left after Bell turned a steal into a layup and Juhasz scored from underneath. The Cardinals closed to within 62-57 at the three-minute mark and were within five points with 17 seconds left, but couldn’t get closer. A pair of foul shots by Madison Greene sealed it late for the Buckeyes.
“We competed really hard tonight,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “We defended, we rebounded against one of the best rebounding teams in the country, so I’m really happy.”
Dana Evans had 18 points for the Cardinals, who were plagued by poor shooting, especially down thee stretch when they had to chase the Buckeyes. Louisville shot 39.9% for the game compared to Ohio State’s 48.8%.
The Cardinals took a 33-31 lead into halftime on the strength of Bionca Dunham’s 10 points. Jazmine Jones, who was averaging 14.1 points this season, picked up three fouls in the first quarter and sat for all of the second. She eventually fouled out with 4:36 left in the game. Dunham didn’t score again in the game.
“Tonight they out-toughed us, and you have to give credit to them,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “We played tonight, unfortunately, like a team that didn’t realize what was working.”
Louisville: Huge letdown for the Cardinals, who had a huge win last Saturday and vaulted six spots in the poll.
“We didn’t play very physical,” Walz said. “We have to get back to work.”
Ohio State: Huge win and confidence builder for the Buckeyes, who last month lost to Ohio and South Dakota.
The upset should drop the Cardinals as fast as they rose.
READY FOR THE BIG TIME
McGuff said the Buckeyes playing then-No. 4 UConn tough on Nov. 24 prepared them for big stage on Thursday against a surging opponent.
“I think it gave us the confidence that we can play with the best teams in the country,” he said. “I thought the difference tonight was executing down the stretch better, we made more shots.”
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
Walz said he didn’t think the emotional high of winning the tournament last weekend and beating the No. 1 team in the country affected Thursday’s performance.
“There was no hangover from the weekend,” he said. “They’re 18- to 22-year-olds, god forbid. I mean if you can be excited to show up and play a basketball game. Give Ohio State credit.”
“Louisville is a great team, they have great players, but I just feel like we were tougher,” Juhasz said.
Louisville: At Northern Kentucky on Sunday.
Ohio State: Hosts Radford on Sunday.
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