It's rare that the outcome of a game is so meaningful for both of the teams that played in it.
And for No. 17 Ohio State (15-4, 2-4), the significance of its 68-62 loss to Nebraska (9-8, 1-4) on Monday was for all the wrong reasons.
Before the Buckeyes trip to Lincoln, you'd have to go back six years to find the last time OSU lost four consecutive games, a 2008 season that resulted in the Buckeyes not even making the NCAA Tournament. But after enduring losses to Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota and now the Cornhuskers in the last two weeks, that's exactly the predicament that OSU finds itself in, on the heels of a quartet of defeats.
Familiar problems reared their heads for the Buckeyes, who committed 13 turnovers, shot 39.6 percent from the field and found themselves trailing Nebraska by 14 points by the end of the first half. Ohio State, however, managed to grab -- and maintain -- some momentum before heading to the locker room, cutting its deficit to a 34-25 margin.
Opening the half on a 13-2 run, the Buckeyes grabbed a 38-36 lead with 14:45 remaining in regulation on an Aaron Craft layup. The Huskers, however, wouldn't back down, as the two teams traded leads for the better part of the next 10 minutes.
Nebraska would have the last laugh though, as the Huskers grabbed the final lead of the game on a Deverell Biggs layup with four minutes remaining in the game. Nebraska went on to stretch its lead to as many as 12 points, before late 3-pointers from Marc Loving and Lenzelle Smith Jr. proved to be too little too late for the Buckeyes.
Craft led the way for Ohio State with 12 points, LaQuinton Ross scored 11 and Smith added 10, but that wasn't enough to compound a Husker attack that was spearheaded by 18 points a piece from Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields. Nebraska made half of its shots against OSU in what was its first win over the Buckeyes since joining the Big Ten two seasons ago, despite making just two of its 13 attempts from beyond 3-point range.
With arguably its ugliest loss of the Thad Matta era in the books, the Buckeyes will again look to bounce back on Thursday, when they host Illinois for a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Schottenstein Center.