OSU forward E.J. Liddell scored a career-high 34 points to lead No. 13 Ohio State (10-3, 4-1 B1G) to a 95-87 win over visiting Northwestern (8-5, 1-3 B1G).
Liddell has struggled with his shot lately, going a combined five of 26 in OSU’s last two games against Nebraska and Indiana.
Tonight against Northwestern Liddell scored 21 points in the first half alone on his way to his new career high. He scored 17 of OSU’s first 19 points when he made his first six field goal attempts. He scored a two pointer to open the scoring, them made five-consecutive three point attempts to put the Buckeyes up 19-11.
It was clear his shooting slump was over.
OSU led by as many as 14 in the first half and ended the first 20 minutes of play with a 12 point lead at 51-39. The 51 points at the half equaled their entire scoring output for the game in their loss to Indiana earlier this week.
Liddell’s big night scoring went a long way toward OSU’s victory, but he got a lot of help from freshman guard Malachi Branham. Branham scored 24 points to help keep OSU ahead on the scoreboard in the high-scoring affair. Northwestern guard Ty Berry scored 23 points for the Wildcats. Forward Pete Nance and guard Chase Audige each added 20 as both teams consistently found ways to score.
Ohio State shot 56.9 percent from the field for the game. Northwestern shot 47.1 from the field, but the Wildcats got up 17 more field goal attempts than OSU. Northwestern finished the game with 32 made field goals that included 10 three pointers. OSU made 29 field goals, three less than the Wildcats, and 11 three pointers. OSU held a tremendous edge at the free throw line however where the Buckeyes made 26 of 27 free throw attempts. Northwestern made 13 of 17 from the line. OSU’s 13 point edge from the stripe was the difference in the game. Ohio State did not score a field goal over the last 4:35 of the contest but still scored 11 points over that span, all from the free throw line.
Ohio State Head Coach Chris Holtmann was unable to coach tonight for medical reasons. Assistant coach Jake Diebler stood in for Holtmann and earned his first career victory as a college coach.
Photo courtesy of Ohiostatebuckeyes.com