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BELIEVELAND: West Virginia downs No. 2 Ohio State in the Cleveland Classic

The Mountaineers knocked off the second best team of the country without their top two big men. This team has GRIT

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Ohio State Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 22 West Virginia Mountaineers should be poised to see a nice bump in the rankings with this week’s poll, after knocking off the No. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 67-59, inside the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse as part of the 2019 Cleveland Classic.

West Virginia’s bigs battled foul trouble throughout the game, starting with Oscar Tshiebwe getting tagged with two offensive fouls within the first 90 seconds of the game. The Buckeyes controlled a 5-2 lead at the under-16:00 timeout, but Miles McBride was able to come off the bench and hit back-to-back threes to give the Mountaineer offense a spark.

The Mountaineers took their first lead of the game with 7:38 remaining in the half, after Chase Harler capped a 6-0 run with a corner three to put West Virginia up 20-18. However, that lead evaporated quickly, as the Buckeyes went on a run of their own to take a 32-25 lead with four minutes remaining in the half.

West Virginia battled to hang in the game with threes from Sean McNeil and Brandon Knapper, but Ohio State would take a 37-31 lead into the locker room at the half.

The second half was more of the same for the Mountaineer big men, as Tshiebwe was whistled for another foul in the opening 20 seconds of the second half and would have to go to the bench with four fouls.

Ohio State controlled a 40-34 lead coming out of the under-16:00 timeout, but McBride would strike again with a 7-0 run to put the Mountaineers up by one with 13:28 remaining. The two teams would go own to trade buckets until West Virginia mounted another 6-0 run to take a five point lead with eight minutes left on the clock.

West Virginia missed opportunity after opportunity to extend their lead at the charity stripe, allowing Ohio State to climb their way back to a 54-53 lead with 4:40 left to go. Derek Culver was quick to erase the lead with a jumper from the paint, and McBride extended the lead with two made free throws and a jumper of his own to put the Mountaineers up 59-54 with 1:14 remaining.

Jordan McCabe would go on to extend the lead further with a pair of made free throws, and Chase Harler sealed the game with a fast break layup.

West Virginia will hit the road again next weekend as they open Big 12 conference play against the No. 5 ranked Kansas Jayhawks in The Phog. Tip off time for that game has yet to be officially announced, but it will be either 4:00PM or 8:00PM ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.