Buckeyes top Huskers to end losing streak


Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb.

The shot clock was about to hit zero when Ohio State’s Luther Muhammad launched a shot from behind the key. The ball hit the front of the rim, bounced off the backboard and dropped straight through.

“To be honest, every time I let it go I feel like it’s good,” Muhammad said. “That one, that was a straight heat check. I just felt like, ‘Today’s my day. God is on my side today.’”

That 3-pointer — Muhammad’s third in a five-minute span of the second half — stemmed Nebraska’s momentum and helped carry the Buckeyes to a 70-60 win that ended their longest losing streak in 21 years.

Muhammad scored 18 of his career-high 24 points in the second half, including two other 3s during a 20-5 run that propelled the Buckeyes (13-6, 3-5 Big Ten) to their first win in six games.

“This group has been pretty tied together even through as hard a stretch as any of us could have dreamed of,” OSU coach Chris Holtmann said.

“They’ve stayed together, and finally some things went our way.”

James Palmer and Glynn Watson Jr. combined for 37 points to lead the Cornhuskers (13-7, 3-6), who have lost three straight games and five of seven.

Nebraska played without Isaac Copeland, who left the game a minute of the second half after he landed awkwardly when colliding with an Ohio State player under the basket.

Ohio State broke the game open after Nebraska took its last lead, 38-36.

The Buckeyes beat the Huskers on the boards, 45-31 overall and 14-7 on the offensive end.

“I think this shows what type of team we are when we play the full 40 minutes,” guard C.J. Jackson said.

“We obviously know Nebraska is a good team. They’ve been struggling here late. They’ve been ranked this year. We just know once we play the full 40 minutes we can play with anybody.”

Nebraska went 6:19 without a field goal in the second half against Ohio State’s 2-3 zone and without Copeland on the floor.

C.J. Jackson and Andre Wesson scored 10 points apiece for the Buckeyes, and Kaleb Wesson had 11 rebounds to go with his seven points.

Palmer had 19 points and Watson had 18 for the Huskers, who shot 36.2 percent from the field.

BIG PICTURE

Ohio State: The Buckeyes played like a desperate team, bringing the game to the Huskers to end their longest losing streak since 1997-98. Muhammad played his best all-around game with six rebounds, two assists and three steals to go with his 24 points.

COPELAND INJURY

Copeland tore the ACL in his left knee a minute into the second half. The senior forward, who scored eight points, averaged 14.3 points per game.

HE SAID IT

“I didn’t necessarily look at as whether you lose one game or five games. It’s miserable. Obviously, the misery was compounded five times. I don’t look at this as fun times are here again. We’ve got to continue to be tough-minded.” — Holtmann, on the end of the losing streak.

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