Hoops Preview: Buckeyes On The Road At Rutgers Wednesday Night

The No. 16 Buckeyes (14-5, 7-3) hit the road for the first time since their last-second loss at Purdue on January 30. Ohio State has played just one game since then, which was Sunday’s 82-67 win over Maryland. Rutgers (13-9, 7-5) is coming off of a very impressive 84-63 win over Michigan State on Saturday at home. It was the program’s largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent ever. It was also their second-consecutive defeat of MSU by more than 20 points, having bested them 67-37 last year. Rutgers also owns home victories over Purdue and Iowa this season.

Opening Tip

Who: Ohio State at Rutgers
What: Men’s Basketball
Where: Rutgers Athletic Center – Piscataway, New Jersey
When: Wednesday – 7:00 pm – BTN
Why: Because March is less than three weeks away.
Line: Rutgers +2.5, O/U 135

The Buckeyes​

Buckeye Game Notes​

  • Ohio State begins a week on the road this Wednesday when the No. 16 Buckeyes head to New Jersey to take on Rutgers. This will be the lone meeting of the season between the two teams. Ohio State swept the season series last year and has won three consecutive games in the series. Overall, the Buckeyes are 10-3 all-time against Rutgers, including 4-1 at The RAC. Head coach Chris Holtmann holds a 6-1 record against the Scarlet Knights.
  • E.J. Liddell is coming off his fifth double-double of the season with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers in the win over Maryland on Sunday. Liddell is the only player in the country averaging 19.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 3.0 assists per game. Over the last 30 seasons, only two players have averaged those numbers for a complete season and one of them was named Tim Duncan. Four times this season, Liddell has led the team in scoring, rebounding and assists in the same game, including in three of the last five games.
  • Through the first 14 games of the season, the Buckeyes were averaging nearly 13 turnovers per game. Over the last four, OSU is averaging 7.0 per game including a season-low six in each of the last three games.
  • Justin Ahrens broke out of a mini shooting slump vs. Maryland, connecting on 4-of-7 from long range. He is just 14 threes away from the Top 10 in program history. Zed Key was 6-of-7 shooting in the win over Maryland and finished with 14 points. That was his second-highest scoring output of the year and the most since scoring a career-high 20 vs. Duke on Nov. 30. Joey Brunk has made 10 of his last 11 shots since going 0-of-3 against Bowling Green in the first week of the season. Malaki Braham is the only other Buckeye averaging in double figures at 10.5. He has made a three-pointer in eight of the last nine games and is shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc. Jamari Wheeler eclipsed 600 career points on Sunday vs. Maryland and he is two assists away from 400 in his career.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights

What You Need To Know​

  • The Rutgers men’s basketball team (13-9, 7-5) has a second consecutive home contest against a ranked foe as RU will host No. 16 Ohio State on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at Jersey Mike’s Arena at 7:00 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network. The Scarlet Knights are 2-1 against ranked teams this year, previously defeating No. 1 Purdue and No. 13 Michigan State, with a loss to No. 23 Seton Hall. Rutgers is looking for its first back-to-back wins against ranked opponents since January of 2008, when RU defeated No. 18 Villanova (Jan. 23) and No. 13 Pittsburgh (Jan. 26). RU is currently in game 2 of a stretch with six consecutive ranked foes faced. RU is 11-2 at Jersey Mike’s Arena this season and 39-7 at home during the last three seasons.
  • Paul Mulcahy has truly taken his game to the next level in this current stretch. The Bayonne, N.J. native had his first career double-double against Michigan State as he had a career-high 12 assists to go with 15 points. He became the first RU player with 12 assists in a regulation game since Earl Johnson in 1997. That performance came following up a career-high outing of 31 points at Northwestern last Tuesday. Mulcahy became the first Rutgers player to score 31+ points, have 7+ assists and 7+ rebounds in a game since Corey Sanders in 2016 in the game against Northwestern on Tuesday night. Mulcahy is averaging 18.9 points and 7.0 assists in his last three games dating back to the win at Nebraska. Mulcahy’s line of 8.4 points and 5.4 assists per game on the season represent career bests for the junior.
  • Rutgers is 6-0 this season when forward Ron Harper Jr. scores 20 or more points in a game. Harper Jr. scored a career-high 31 points at Maryland Saturday with a career best of six three-pointers. Rutgers’ claimed a victory over No. 1 Purdue on a Ron Harper Jr. buzzer-beating half-court shot that marked the highest ranked victory in program history.
  • In five seasons at Rutgers (2017-22), guard Geo Baker has played in 135 games with 118 starts. In that time, he has averaged 11.2 points, 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals, shooting 38.3 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from three-point distance. Had a season high 25 points and seven three-pointers made against Minn., the most three pointers for an RU player against a Big Ten opponent in school history. Missed four games this season due to injury (hamstring/flu) prior to return against Seton Hall. Earned reputation as of the nation’s most clutch shot-makers. Three-time All-Big Ten, three-time All-Met selection and three-time Academic All-Big Ten
  • Guard Caleb McConnell has played four seasons at Rutgers, seeing action in 103 games with 49 starts. At 2.1 steals per game, leads the the Big Ten. Had a season-high 16 points against Clemson. Had double-double featuring career-high 12 rebounds at Seton Hall. Had career-highs in both steals (six) and assists (nine) at UMass.