Ohio State fell 64-61 against Rutgers tonight as they continued conference play. Chris Holtmann’s squad dropped their second in a row after losing to Michigan State last Saturday. This was their first true conference road game and the Bucks looked shaken and sloppy throughout. They struggled against the size of Rutgers and were overall very subpar tonight as they took their third loss of the season against Steve Pikiell’s Scarlet Knights.
The Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights both started off poorly struggling to score and both looked rather sloppy on offense. Kaleb Wesson would pick up two early fouls within the first three minutes which forced Ohio State to shift the offensive strategy more towards the perimeter. Rutgers also lost their leading scorer for the game early on with Eugene Omoruyi going down with a nasty left ankle injury. He would walk off and return to their bench despite being ruled out for the rest of the game. Geo Baker would take on the scoring load after this and heated up quickly scoring an insanely quick 8 points that pushed Rutgers in front. Luther Muhammad would hit back to back threes to keep the Bucks within striking distance. Rutgers would go on a 7-0 run soon after though with Ohio State getting sloppy and allowing easy fastbreak points. The Scarlet Knights also threw multiple defenses at Ohio State in the first half. They would start in man, but switched to a full-court 1-3-1 press that would fall back into a 2-3 zone. The Buckeyes have seen 2-3 zone defenses numerous times since being abused by Syracuse’s early in the year. Ohio State would fight back late with a 9-1 run to end the half as Duane Washington hit a big three. They still would trail 31-30 after 20 minutes.
Ohio State would start off great in the second half and take the lead pretty quickly as they seemed to figure out the Rutgers zone defensive schemes. Rutgers would however strike back rapidly going on a 10-0 run. Ohio State then struggled but managed to stay in it keeping the lead at 10 or less for a long stretch of game time. They also found themselves in the bonus with just under 9 minutes to go as they drew more fouls being much more aggressive. Rutgers continued to take advantage of Ohio State trapping ball screens and failing to get back to their man allowing for open shots at the rim and from beyond the arc. The Bucks did hit their stride defensively late as they made life very difficult for Rutgers. Geo Baker however would give Rutgers a three point lead with just over 13 seconds left and C.J. Jackson would miss the game-tying three at the end other end. The final would be 64-61 as Rutgers won their first game over a ranked opponent since 2017.
- OHIO STATE STANDOUTS
Kaleb Wesson: 18 points, 7 rebounds
Luther Muhammad: 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
C.J. Jackson: 10 points, 4 assists, 2 steals
- RUTGERS STANDOUTS
Geo Baker: 15 points, 4 assists. 5 rebounds
Ron Harper Jr.: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Shaq Carter: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
- OHIO STATE STATS
31 3PT FG%
- RUTGERS STATS
31 3PT FG%
The Buckeyes struggled to play well all night and were not able to pull out a win on the road. They seemed out of sorts nearly all game and were plagued by turnovers and also fouls once again. There is a lot for the Bucks to take away from tonight as Holtmann and Ohio State move forward. They will take on the Hawkeyes in Iowa this Saturday afternoon at 2:30 in another tough road test.
Image from Land-Grant Holy Land