Chicago — Ohio State has played two ranked teams and lost each time. Coach Thad Matta thinks that's a good reminder of how far the Buckeyes have to go.
Marc Loving made five 3-pointers and scored 19 points, but No. 12 Ohio State shot 35 percent from the field in an 82-74 loss to No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday. The Buckeyes had won four in a row since they shot 30 percent in a 64-55 loss at No. 4 Louisville on Dec. 2.
"We've got to look ourselves in the mirror and say, hey, we're not there yet, which is fine, but we've got to look at all the little things that we have to do to get better and get that established," Matta said. "Knowing that it's, I don't want to say it's early, but it's still December. We've got January, February, March still to play basketball.
"How much better can we get in that time?"
Sam Thompson scored 17 for Ohio State (9-2), and D'Angelo Russell had 11 points and eight rebounds. The Buckeyes were averaging 84.2 points and shooting 53.7 percent coming in.
"That's one of the best defenses in the country. And you look at the size … you're going to have to make some tough shots in order to beat those guys just in terms of their length," Matta said.
Brice Johnson had 18 points for North Carolina (8-3) on 8-for-10 shooting. Marcus Paige added 16 points, and Kennedy Meeks finished with eight points, 13 boards and two blocked shots.
Johnson also had nine rebounds, helping North Carolina to a 53-40 rebounding advantage in the opener of a college basketball doubleheader at the home of the Bulls and NHL's Blackhawks.
Johnson and Meeks "have done a great job this year of being an inside presence," Paige said. "We wanted Kennedy to finish a little stronger around the basket today, but Brice was great."
The Tar Heels led by 18 in the second half, but Thompson helped the Buckeyes get back in the game by attacking the rim. The former Chicago high school star had an alley-oop jam and a rebound dunk, then added four consecutive foul shots during a 10-2 run that got the Buckeyes within eight with 5:48 remaining.
Ohio State trailed 77-70 with 1:19 to go and had a chance to get closer but was cold from the field down the stretch. The Tar Heels managed to hold on despite going 15 for 25 at the line in the second half.
"I don't hear the happy song in my ears right now. We stunk it up down the stretch," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said, "and I think we've got to get better there."
Indiana 82, No. 23 Butler 73: At Indianapolis, Troy Williams matched his career high with 22 points and Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell added 20. Coach Tom Crean earned his 300th victory. Indiana (9-2) beat a ranked opponent for the 17th time since 2011-12, the most in the Big Ten.
Kellen Dunham led Butler (8-3) with 23 points. The Bulldogs lost their second straight to a power conference foe.
Penn State 73, Drexel 68: At Allentown, Pennsylvania, D.J. Newbill scored 20 points, Brandon Taylor had 14 and 11 rebounds and Penn State won its ninth straight. The Nittany Lions (11-1) made 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute to hold off the Dragons (2-8), who lost their fourth straight.
Illinois 62, Missouri 59: Rayvonte Rice hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the last of his 19 points, giving Illinois a victory in the annual Braggin' Rights game. Rice also had seven rebounds and three assists and Illinois (9-3) had a tougher time than expected against Missouri (5-6), which is rebuilding under new coach Kim Anderson. Ahmad Starks added 13 points and Malcolm Hil had 10.
St. Francis (Pa.) 73, Rutgers 68: Ollie Jackson hit the go-ahead 3-pointer and two clinching free throws. Earl Brown had a game-high 23 for the Red Flash (6-4), who won their third straight. Jackson had 15 points, while Malik Harmon had 17 and Greg Brown 10.
The Scarlet Knights (6-5), who had won two straight, got 20 points and 12 rebounds from Kadeem Jack. Junior Etou scored 14 points, Bishop Daniels had 12 and Myles Mack added 10 points and eight assists.
No. 21 Notre Dame 94, Purdue 63: At Indianapolis, Pat Connaughton had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Demetrius Jackson scored 22 points for the Irish (11-1). Steve Vasturia and Austin Torres each contributed 11 for Notre Dame and Jerian Grant and Zach Auguste both added 10.
Purdue (8-4) led by eight early in the first half, but trailed 46-39 at the break.
(At) Northern Iowa 56, Iowa 44: Paul Jesperson scored 10 points and Northern Iowa rallied to improve to 10-1. The Panthers held the Hawkeyes (8-4) to a season low in points and bounced back from their first loss of year, a 93-87 double-overtime defeat at VCU last week.