COLUMBUS – Ohio State’s second half comeback gave the Buckeyes the 80-68 win against Rutgers on Wednesday afternoon. The Buckeyes came from 16 points down early in the second half to secure win No. 7 of the year and their first Big Ten victory of the season.
A different Ohio State team hit the court mid-way through the second half, and once the Buckeyes got hot, the game was theirs. Ohio State closed the game on a 42-15 run.
Three Buckeyes finished the game in double-figures. Kyle Young recorded a season high 17 points, Duane Washington Jr. had a career-high 22 points and led all scorers, and E.J. Liddell had a career-high 21 points. Kyle Young led all players with 12 rebounds.
Ohio State got off to a cold start, shooting just 8-23 and having two scoring droughts of over three minutes each. Early in the first half, Rutgers was shooting 80 percent from behind the arc, as compared to 20 percent from the long range for the Buckeyes. At halftime, Ohio State was only 1-of-10 from 3.
Ohio State finished the game shooting just 21 percent from 3 but was 47 percent from the floor. Rutgers shot 41 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3.
In the first half, Rutgers was confident and on-fire in its log distance shooting. They were aggressive, got in transition, and got the 50-50 balls.
The Buckeyes trailed Rutgers 38-28 at halftime.
Coming out of the half, Rutgers went on a 10-0 run. Ohio State’s Washington Jr. responded and hit back to back 3s to keep Ohio State from falling into a 20 point deficit. The score was 50-38 with under 14 to play in the game.
The Buckeyes had contributions from a number of players who caught fire. With just over 1o minutes remaining, Ohio State went on a 8-2 run and cut Rutgers’ lead to six. Ohio State continued its run and cut the lead to four with Rutgers leading 59-55 at the under-8 timeout. At the under-6, Rutgers was up just 61-59 as the Buckeyes held Rutgers scoreless for over three and a half minutes. Ohio State tied the game up at 61 with under five minutes left in the game.
Free throws by Washington Jr. gave Ohio State its first lead since less than a minute into the first half.
Rutgers hadn’t scored since the 7:29 mark with under 3 remaining in the game. Then with 1:21 remaining, Ohio State had an 11 point lead.
Senior Seth Towns who made his first appearance as a Buckeye against UCLA got in the game with just under 13 minutes to play in the game. He made his first bucket and gave Ohio State solid minutes.
Rutgers was led by junior point guard Ron Harper Jr. who scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Rutgers remains the only Big Ten team to never win a game at the Schottenstein Center.
[Photo courtesy of Ohio State Department of Athletics]