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Ohio State vs Minnesota

No. 11 Ohio State's skid at three with loss to Minnesota

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- New coach Richard Pitino has brought a fast-paced, perimeter-based style to Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers haven't ignored their inside game, though. Ohio State got quite the glimpse.

Elliott Eliason had 12 points and 13 rebounds to help Minnesota muscle up and beat the 11th-ranked Buckeyes 63-53 Thursday night, a rare third loss in a row for Ohio State.

"I never get bored of double-doubles," Eliason said.

DeAndre Mathieu had 13 points, five assists and three steals for the Gophers (14-4, 3-2 Big Ten), who gave Pitino his first signature win at Minnesota. They did it by backing down the Buckeyes and owning the area around the basket, posting a 38-20 advantage in points in the paint and a 39-24 rebounding edge.

That started with Eliason.

"Whenever we needed a bucket, he came through clutch with some big finishes, big rebounds," Mathieu said. "He's turned into a monster. He's really good. I think he's the best big in the Big Ten."

LaQuinton Ross scored 22 points for the Buckeyes (15-3, 2-3), on a three-game losing streak for the first time in almost five years. The other four Ohio State starters combined for only 19 points, and the conference's second-worst free throw shooting team went 11 for 18 from the foul line.

Minnesota beat Ohio State for the first time in seven meetings, a feat last accomplished at home in 2010.

"They were the tougher team, and that's how you win in the Big Ten," Buckeyes senior point guard Aaron Craft said.

The Buckeyes lost last week at Michigan State and then at home to Iowa, hardly blemishes on their resume, but they're going to have to snap out of this slide soon to keep up in the top-heavy Big Ten. The Buckeyes fell to 25-4 following losses over the last five seasons. The last time they dropped three in a row was February 2009, at Wisconsin, at Northwestern and against Illinois.

Eliason wasn't the only one working inside for Minnesota. His backup, Mo Walker, converted consecutive spin moves to draw fouls both times, good for a five-point spurt. He even had a steal to set up a fast break a few minutes later. Oto Osenieks added eight points, all near the basket.

Eliason, the 6-foot-11 junior whose post game has begun to emerge as a valuable complement to his shot-blocking and rebounding ability, was recently named a captain.

"I've liked him since the day he got here," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "The 17-foot jump shot surprised me a little bit, but that's kind of how the night went."

Pitino was proud.

"He's playing with great confidence. Confidence is so big in this game," the coach said.

Then the Gophers went to their guards to break open the game down the stretch.

Andre Hollins swished a corner 3-pointer inside the 3-minute mark to make it 55-46, and Austin Hollins followed with a steal and a layup to push the lead to double digits.

The Gophers are in a relentless four-game stretch that's remarkable even for this deep, difficult league. After losing in overtime at fifth-ranked Michigan State last weekend, here came the grumpy Buckeyes on a rare losing streak. Minnesota then plays at No. 14 Iowa on Sunday and hosts Wisconsin, ranked third in the Associated Press poll this week, next Wednesday.

Ohio State's man-to-man defense, which allowed a Big Ten-best 57.6 points per game entering the night, made open jump shots and driving lanes nearly nonexistent for Minnesota in the first half. The Gophers had eight turnovers in the first 8 minutes, but they came up with enough steals, screens and back-door cuts to produce some offense.

Eliason powered up for a layup in traffic with 3:16 left before the break and drew a foul on Marc Loving. Eliason missed the free throw, but Osenieks soared in for the putback and a 27-21 lead for Minnesota.

"Just silly mistakes, man. They got a rebound off a free throw. A rebound off a free throw where they had nobody on the line," Ross said. "So stuff like that just can't happen, man. That was a big play in the game."

Ross, Ohio State's leading scorer, was up to his usual all-over-the-court contributions. He flicked in a floater from the lane with 2 seconds remaining to forge the tie. Then, early in the second half, the lanky 6-foot-8 junior swished consecutive 3-pointers for the Buckeyes to give them the lead again at 38-36.

He didn't have enough help. The Buckeyes shot 18 for 51 from the floor, just 35.3 percent, and had 10 turnovers in the second half.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Elliott Eliason chips in with 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Golden Gophers notch an important win over the Buckeyes.  (USATSI)
Elliott Eliason chips in with 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Golden Gophers notch an important win over the Buckeyes. (USATSI)
Scoreboard
Ohio State #11 (15-3)292453
Minnesota (14-4) «293463
OHIOST:L. Ross 22 Pts
OHIOST:L. Smith Jr. 6 Reb
OHIOST:A. Craft 4 Ast
MINN:D. Mathieu 13 Pts
MINN:E. Eliason 13 Reb
MINN:D. Mathieu 5 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Ohio StateMinnesota
OHIOST
LaQuinton Ross
MINN
Elliott Eliason
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
226012132
Ohio State Buckeyes
L. Ross, F368-173-750422
A. Craft, G352-62-20427
L. Smith Jr., G283-91-26228
S. Scott, G230-31-22141
A. Williams, C221-41-25113
S. Thompson, F354-73-333212
M. Loving, F110-30-02020
T. McDonald, C100-20-01010
A. Della Valle, GDid Not Play
A. Goldstein, GDid Not Play
J. Lorbach, FDid Not Play
K. Williams, GDid Not Play
Totals 18-5111-1824111853
 35.3%61.1% 
Minnesota Golden Gophers
E. Eliason, C336-80-1132212
D. Mathieu, G335-83-445013
A. Hollins, G302-42-34436
O. Osenieks, F294-90-04138
A. Hollins, G263-72-261210
M. Smith, G212-62-21037
J. King, F110-20-01010
D. McNeil, G110-12-21002
M. Walker, F62-21-22035
M. Ahanmisi, GDid Not Play
K. Shell, GDid Not Play
C. Buggs, FDid Not Play
W. Ellenson, GDid Not Play
J. Baranowski, GDid Not Play
Totals 24-4712-1636131863
 51.1%75.0% 
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Maryland0-010-141
Penn St.0-010-139
Wisconsin0-010-116
Ohio St.0-09-127
Indiana0-08-2140
Minnesota0-08-277
Illinois0-08-365
Iowa0-08-3103
Michigan St.0-08-344
Purdue0-08-3133
Nebraska0-06-3139
Michigan0-06-494
Northwestern0-06-4125
Rutgers0-06-487
 
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