- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Thad Matta didn’t have a whole lot of answers.

Regardless of the question thrown at him after No. 24 Ohio State lost 71-70 in overtime to Penn State on Wednesday night, it was clear the Buckeyes coach was at a loss to explain what has happened to his team.

Since starting 15-0 and rising to No. 3 in the nation, the Buckeyes have lost five of their last six games. The latest loss came to a team Ohio State had beaten in the last 18 meetings. Matta was 17-0 against the Nittany Lions since coming into the Big Ten in 2004-05.

Now, with 10 games to go in the season, he must find some solutions.

“Obviously, I don’t like the position we’re in but it’s reality,” Matta said. “We put ourselves here. We’ve got to fight our way out of this.”

The latest defeat was a stunner, partly because the Buckeyes blew an 11-point lead with 8 minutes left and partly because it came against a team that hadn’t won in Columbus in 13 years. For that matter, the Nittany Lions haven’t had much luck regardless of location, winning just seven times in 37 Big Ten games since Patrick Chambers took over as head coach three years ago.

But that all changed when D.J. Newbill hit the decisive shot.

Newbill hit a pull-up jumper over Aaron Craft with 2 seconds left in overtime for the winning points. He had hit a 3 with 13 seconds left in regulation to force the extra session.

“We weren’t the tougher basketball team,” said Craft, a senior. “We had the ball, a chance to go up three and we turn the ball over. They go down, and they have guys who make plays. And they did it.”

Newbill was up to the challenge.

“There were 11 seconds left, we were down by one. I just cleared out one side of the floor,” he said. “I knew they were going to try to stop me from going to the right because they’d been shading me left the whole game. I just made a quick, right-to-left crossover and pulled up with confidence. Fortunately, it went down.”

Newbill led the Nittany Lions (11-10, 2-6 Big Ten) with 25 points.

He didn’t know, or even care, who was guarding him on the last shot. Craft is considered one of the nation’s best one-on-one defenders.

“They did everything they needed to down the stretch,” Craft said. “They made shots, they made big plays, they rebounded the ball. We just didn’t do it.”

It didn’t matter to the Nittany Lions that Ohio State had controlled the series for a dozen years.

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