Men's Basketball, Sports, WVU Sports

Mountaineers put up a fight, fall to Ohio State in 78-75 overtime loss

CLEVELAND — You never would have known Roddy Gayle Jr. just had the game of his life Saturday.
Cool, calm and collected, Gayle took a hectic moment Saturday and turned it into a highlight reel, leading Ohio State to a 78-75 overtime victory against West Virginia inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
“It’s tough to rattle him,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. “He’s always been that way. He’s got a disposition about him to where sometimes you go, ‘Roddy, hey, let’s go.’ But, it’s just how he is as a player.”

Gayle, a sophomore, had 23 of his 32 points in the second half and overtime, as the Buckeyes (11-2) survived a major scare from the Mountaineers (5-8).
Gayle’s performance was just one way to tell this story, in a game that had more key moments than any mystery novel.

There was the fact WVU kept battling back and got the game into overtime only after Patrick Suemnick became an unsung hero.

His lay-up with 31 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 65 and came off a pick-and-roll with Noah Farrakhan, as Farrakhan drew the defense to him and simply flipped the ball back to Sumenick for the score.

“We had trouble with their backup center the whole night,” Holtmann said.
In the overtime, WVU guard RaeQuan Battle’s 3-point attempt with 1:04 left came up well short.
The reason? WVU head coach Josh Eilert believed Battle was fouled and Eilert rushed out near midcourt to let his feeling known.

“I was three feet away from the play,” Eilert said after the game. “It was pretty clear what

Had Battle, who finished with 24 points on 9 of 19 shooting, been given three free-throw attempts, he may have been able to cut into Ohio State’s 78-73 lead at the time.
Instead, Eilert was whistled for a technical, but nothing came of that, because Gayle missed both free throws — his only setback of the game — and then Battle intercepted a tipped pass and turned it into a dunk.

The final 45 seconds of overtime was just missed opportunities for WVU.
Gayle missed a jump shot, but the offensive rebound went to teammate Evan Mahaffey.
Mahaffey was fouled, but missed both free throws.

Still trailing 78-75, WVU guard Kerr Kriisa was fouled with eight seconds left, but he missed the front end of the one-and-one free throw and Ohio State ran out the clock after getting the rebound.
“We could probably look back at the film and see several things we can correct and kick ourselves for not correcting some things in the game,” Eilert said. “Regardless, it’s a game of inches and it was a possession-to-possession game. We just couldn’t find a way to catch a break down the stretch.”
West Virginia survived a cold shooting stretch to open the game and then saw Battle summoned to the bench with two early fouls.

Along the way, Ohio State was dominating on the glass and with second chance points.
“I think we were down 13 in rebounding at one point,” WVU head coach Josh Eilert said. “I challenged them. We had to be better. We began to change defenses and made it a back-and-forth game.”
By the time it ended, the Mountaineers had nearly pulled even in rebounds (47-46), but Ohio State nailed nine 3-pointers in the second half with Gayle leading the way.

“It was just mainly doing what we do in practice and then take it out to the game,” Gayle said. “So much of what we ran, we work on in practice. We played our best in the second half.”
Battle added 10 rebounds to go with his 24 points for WVU. In his first three games at the school, he’s totaled 82 points.

Farrakhan added 19 points, but he fouled out in the final minutes of overtime. Quinn Slazinski had 11 points and eight rebounds.