Ohio State fought back on the road, but what was at times in the second half an 11-point lead proved just a touch too much to overcome.

The 19th-ranked Buckeyes dropped their first game of the season to Xavier, 71-65.

Just too much inside from the Musketeers on the evening. Ohio State struggled to consistently prevent dribble penetration. Forward EJ Liddell had 8 blocks in the effort—as well as a huge 3 in the final minute—and altered even more, but Xavier was undeterred attacking the basket.

Xavier got 38 paint points and shot 14-for-17 from the free throw line. It was needed, as the shots outside weren’t falling. Xavier was just 5-for-24 from beyond the arc in the game.

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The punctuation mark was a slam when guard Paul Scruggs met Liddell at the summit and put him on a poster.

There were just 30 seconds left on the clock. Scruggs bumped the home lead back to 5 after Liddell’s triple on the other end got the Buckeyes within 3. Ohio State got the game within a single score on 4 different occasions in the final 4 minutes, but Xavier had a response each time.

Ohio State, on the other side, was more than serviceable from 3—they were 8-of-21, with big shots in the final minute to stay within a possession and extend the game—but struggled inside the arc. The Buckeyes shot just 15-for-40 from 2-point range. They also turned it over 13 times and lost the rebounding battle 43-35.

Liddell led the way with 17 points to go with 7 rebounds and his 8 blocks in the loss. He was 7-for-14 from the field. Guard Meechie Johnson Jr. added 14 points and 3 assists while forward Kyle Young had 12 points and 6 boards.

Ohio State (3-1) is back in action on Monday, Nov. 22, when it plays Seton Hall at 6 p.m. ET on FS1 as part of the Fort Myers Tip-Off.