In his weekly media availability, head coach Chris Holtmann mentioned that he knew Rutgers was going to present a challenge in the interior.
The Buckeyes rose to the challenge in their 80-68 win over the No. 11 ranked Scarlet Knights, claiming their first Big Ten win of the season.
Rutgers was already without injured freshman center Cliff Omoruyi, which pressed Myles Johnson into his first start of the season. Mamadou Doucoure also had to play a greater role off the bench, seeing his most minutes in the 2020-21 campaign to date.
Both Johnson and Doucoure got into foul trouble early in the first half, proving their strength to be a weakness that the Buckeyes exploited all game long.
Getting the ball down into the post was crucial to Ohio State’s second-half comeback over the Scarlet Knights as the Buckeyes trailed by as many as 16 points. However, Johnson’s fifth foul at the 9:40 mark in the second half swung the game’s momentum and Ohio State never looked back.
E.J. Liddell and Kyle Young were crucial in the second-half comeback as both executed the game plan and notched career-best marks along the way - Liddell with 21 points and Young with 17 of his own. They combined for 38 points and 18 rebounds and helped the Buckeyes shoot 57 percent from the floor after halftime.
“We were told to attack their bigs,” Liddell said. “We felt like whoever was going to score more paint points and whoever got more offensive rebounds, and rebounds in general, was going to win the game. We stressed that before the game and that was the game plan.”
“We’ve built how we want to play, it’s certainly when we play through the interior with him at the forefront of our minds,” Holtmann added about Liddell.
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