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WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: Sports - Local Sports - Minnesota muscles past No. 11 Ohio State 63-53

Minnesota muscles past No. 11 Ohio State 63-53

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Elliott Eliason had 12 points and 13 rebounds to help Minnesota muscle past 11th-ranked Ohio State for a 63-53 victory Thursday night that stuck the Buckeyes with their third straight loss.

DeAndre Mathieu had 13 points, five assists and three steals for the Golden Gophers (14-4, 3-2 Big Ten), who gave new coach Richard Pitino his first signature win. 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.

LaQuinton Ross scored 22 points for the Buckeyes (15-3, 2-3), who are on a three-game losing streak for the first time in almost four 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 here in 2010.

Against a Gophers team that leads the Big Ten in steals, the Buckeyes took better care of the ball after totaling 38 turnovers over the previous two games, but their struggles getting shots to go down was too much to overcome.

They lost last week at Michigan State and then at home to Iowa, hardly blemishes on their record, 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.

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.

The Buckeyes had trouble making their shots early, and the Gophers struggled to take them. The result, naturally, was a 29-all halftime tie that belied the intensity and athleticism on the court.

Ohio State's man-to-man defense, which allowed a Big Ten-best 57.6 points per game entering the night, a figure also tied for sixth-stingiest in the nation, 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, the 6-foot-11 junior whose post game has begun to emerge as a valuable complement to his shot-blocking and rebounding ability, 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.

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.Minnesota muscles past No. 11 Ohio State 63-53

Thursday, January 16 2014, 11:36 PM EST

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BREWERS-REDS

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Johnny Cueto pitched seven solid innings, and the Cincinnati Reds stayed in the chase for the NL's top record by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Tuesday night after learning they'll be without their manager for the rest of the week.

The Brewers dropped back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month, and it came at a bad time. They started the day 3 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild card spot.

They got no break from the Reds, who clinched the NL Central title on Saturday night.

Manager Dusty Baker met players before the game and revealed he suffered a mini-stroke in addition to being treated for an irregular heartbeat last week. The 63-year-old manager hopes to return to the dugout next week.

REDS-BAKER

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Dusty Baker won't manage the Cincinnati Reds until the final series in St. Louis, giving him time to recover from an irregular heartbeat that left him hospitalized last week.

Baker met with owner Bob Castellini and his team on Tuesday before a game against the Brewers. Bench coach Chris Speier said he'll manage the final three home games against Milwaukee and three in Pittsburgh over the weekend, with Baker taking over for the last three games next week.

The 63-year-old manager was hospitalized in Chicago last Wednesday for an irregular heartbeat, a problem he's had for a while. He was in the hospital for four days, missing the Reds' 6-0 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night that clinched the NL Central title.

INDIANS-WHITE SOX

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox have lost sole possession of first place in the AL Central race, with the Indians playing spoiler. Gordon Beckham hit into a game-ending forceout with the potential tying run on second base yesterday as the Indians downed the White Sox 4-3.

Down 4-0 in the fourth inning, the White Sox closed within a run when Paul Konerko homered off Chris Perez leading off the ninth. Perez walked a pair of batters with two outs, and Beckham grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force.

Chicago (82-72) had held sole possession of the division lead since September 3. Detroit pulled into a tie for the division lead with its win over Kansas City last night.

T25-OHIO ST-MATCHING UP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Through four games and four victories, Ohio State's defense has faced a continual drumbeat of short passes, quick routes, screens and sweeps.

Every opponent, it seems, has relied on a sleight of hand.

Now the Buckeyes are looking forward to getting into familiar territory when they open Big Ten play.

When No. 14 Ohio State travels to 20th-ranked Michigan State on Saturday, the Buckeyes anticipate they'll run into a more conventional Midwestern attack. Granted, that means having to counteract the 244-pound blasts of the Spartans' massive Le'Veon Bell.

But after a month of chasing people, the Buckeyes think they might benefit from a change of pace from the subterfuge and rush-avoiding quick-hitters in a trade for raw man-on-man power struggles at the line of scrimmage.

T25-UPTIGHT SPARTANS

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State's lackluster win last weekend got to coach Mark Dantonio.

After the Spartans beat Eastern Michigan 23-7 Saturday, Dantonio hurried through a terse news conference full of abrupt answers. The Michigan State coach said "next question" seven times in under a minute and was clearly annoyed with the way his team played.

On Tuesday, Dantonio spoke with reporters for around a half-hour, but Michigan State isn't making any players or assistants available this week. The Spartans' coach is trying to send a clear message to his players that it's time to get serious.

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