Cleveland, Ohio–West Virginia (11-1) should receive a late Christmas gift The No. 22 Mountaineers should see a bump up in the rankings in this week’s poll, after beating No. 2 ranked Ohio State, 67-59 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse as part of the 2019 Cleveland Classic in front of 16,781.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 5-2 lead West Virginia’s bigs battled foul trouble throughout the game, starting with Oscar Tshiebwe getting hit with two fouls within the first 90 seconds of the contest. Freshman Miles McBride came off the bench and hit back-to-back treys to give WVU offense a huge spark.
West Virginia was out-rebounded 41-33, but it was the Mountaineers’ defense that was the key to the game. The Buckeyes only made 31.3% of their shots from the field and scored 35% of their points from the foul line (21).
Ohio State was leading, 16-13, with 12:03, left until the break but the Mountaineers would go on a 6-0 run that was capped off by a three-pointer by Chase Harler. Harler’s trey gave WVU a 20-18 lead which was their first lead since scoring the first points of the contest.
The two teams continued to battle back-and-forth down the court OSU would take a 37-31 lead into the break.
Tshiebwe committed his fourth foul early into the second half and was back on the bench. After a Buckeye free throw, McNeil made his second three-pointer of the game, but forward Kaleb Wesson answered back with a powerful dunk along the baseline to give the OSU a 40-34 lead at the 16:58 mark.
McBride would push the tempo again with a 7-0 run to put WVU up by one point with 13:28 remaining. The two teams would go down the court and trade buckets until the Mountaineers mounted another 6-0 run to take a five-point lead with eight minutes left in the game.
West Virginia missed their opportunity to put OSU away, they missed too many shots at the charity stripe, which allowed Ohio State to climb their way back to a 54-53 lead with 4:40 left to go in the game. Derek Culver erased the lead with a jumper in the paint area, and McBride extended the lead with two free throws and a jumper to put WVU up 59-54 with 1:14 remaining in the game.
OSU Wesson hit a three to make it a four-point game with 50.7 seconds left on the clock. But West Virginia was able to seal the game with free throws and managing the clock.
The Buckeyes struggled to take care of the ball and knock down 3-pointers consistently in the loss. OSU committed 22 turnovers and made just 8 of 24 from downtown. Turnovers have been a problem for Ohio State this season, but this team has been top 10 in 3-point shooting all season.
WVU Miles Mcbride had a career-high of 21 points off the bench.
Ohio State Kaleb Wesson finished the contest with 17 points along with nine rebounds.
West Virginia will hit the road again to begin Big 12 Conference play against No. 5 Kansas next Saturday. The game will begin at either 4 p.m. or 8 p.m. ET.