Basketball

Ohio State Overcomes 16-Point Second-Half Deficit In Impressive 80-68 Win Over #11 Rutgers

COLUMBUS — Ohio State outscored Rutgers 52-30 in the second half and were led by a game-high 22 points from Duane Washington and 21 points from EJ Liddell in Wednesday’s 80-68 win over the Scarlet Knights.

The No. 23 Buckeyes (7-1) trailed #11 Rutgers by 16 points with 15 minutes to play in the game, but capitalized on Scarlet Knight (6-1) foul trouble down the stretch to outscore Rutgers 27-8 over the game’s final eight minutes.

Ron Harper, Jr. paced the Scarlet Knights with 20 points.

Kyle Young posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Ohio State’s early 5-0 lead lasted all of 23 seconds and the rest of the lead didn’t make it much longer. Rutgers’ first two baskets were of the two-point variety, but four of their next five were three-pointers, which allowed them to build an 18-9 Scarlet Knights’ lead at the 11:42 mark of the first half.

The lead would grow to 13 points a couple of times in the first half before settling at 38-28 following a Kyle Young basket prior to the intermission. Young then scored the first four points of the second half to cut the lead to six points, but that was followed by a 10-0 Rutgers run thanks to eight points from Ron Harper, Jr. and a bucket from Jacob Young.

Trailing 53-38, OSU graduate transfer forward Seth Towns grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up and in for his first points since March 11, 2018. Duane Washington then followed that up with a three-pointer to make it 53-43.

With foul trouble besetting Rutgers’ post players, the Buckeyes took some control of the paint. Towns secured his second basket on another offensive rebound put back to make it 55-49 with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Rutgers center Myles Johnson was whistled for his fifth foul on a Musa Jallow putback with 8:44 remaining and the Scarlet Knights holding a 59-51 lead. Less than a minute later, Jallow put back a Washington miss on a three while being fouled. He made the free throw to cut the Rutgers lead to 59-55 with just over eight minutes to play.

Soon after, Jacob Young went to the basket for a dunk attempt but was fouled by Kyle Young. Jacob Young missed the dunk and fell hard to the ground and had to leave the game.

The Buckeyes tied the game up at 61-61 via a Washington baseline floater with 4:54 to play. On Rutgers’ next possession, head coach Steve Pikiell was whistled for a technical foul. Washington connected on both free throws, giving Ohio State a 63-61 lead with 4:25 to play. EJ Liddell then made it 65-61 with a step back jumper near the elbow, capping a 10-0 run for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State put two more on the board with an alley oop to Kyle Young from CJ Walker to make it 67-61. Liddell then added a pull-up jumper to build the lead to 69-61, giving himself 20 points on the night. He finished with a career-high 21 points on the night.

Free throws then closed things out the rest of the way for Ohio State.

Welcome Back!

This was the second game back for graduate transfer forward Seth Towns. Towns played two minutes in the win over UCLA, but failed to secure any statistics. That changed tonight as he grabbed a couple of offensive rebounds and put those boards back up and in, scoring four points on the night. In his six minutes on the court, the Buckeyes were +10 on the scoreboard.

Living In the Paint

Ohio State outscored Rutgers 38-20 in the paint and there was very little the Scarlet Knights could do to stop the Buckeyes. EJ Liddell and Kyle Young combined for 38 points, and most of them occurred in the lane. The offensive rebound advantage of 12-4 also led to a dozen second-chance points.

The Turning Point

The Scarlet Knights were leading 59-51 with 8:44 to play when center Myles Johnson fouled out. The Buckeyes then went on a 29-9 run with the paint freed up. After the game, EJ Liddell said he even smiled a bit inside when the 6-foot-11 Johnson was sent to the bench.

The Box Score