Second Half Comeback Propels Ohio State to Top-25, B1G Win Over Rutgers

After trailing by 16 points in the second half, the Buckeyes battled their way to their first Big Ten win of the season.
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Career-high performances across the board sparked a comeback performance as No. 23 Ohio State earned an 80-68 B1G win over No. 11 Rutgers.

Duane Washington Jr. had his best shooting day on the season, going 6-for-14 from the floor for a career-high 22 points. E.J. Liddell also scored a career-best of 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting while Kyle Young notched a double-double with a career-high 17 points and a team-leading 12 rebounds.

The Buckeyes struggled offensively in the first half, shooting 33.3 percent from the floor and only 1-of-10 from beyond the arc, while Rutgers maintained around a double-digit lead for most of the first half.

Ohio State vs. Rutgers Final Box Score

Ohio State responded well out of the locker room as it opened on a modest 4-0 run, trimming the Scarlet Knights lead down to six points at 38-32.

Ron Harper Jr. continued to show why he is one of the top scorers in the B1G and in the nation. He carried the Scarlet Knights on a 10-0 run to a 48-32 lead - their largest lead. From that point on, Ohio State began climbing back into the game. Harper finished with a team-leading 20 points for the Scarlet Knights.

Washington Jr. started to find his stroke as he made big back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Buckeyes back within 12 points, 50-38. He was the only Buckeye to hit from deep in the game.

VIDEO: Chris Holtmann's Postgame Press Conference Highlights After Ohio State Beat Rutgers

Appearing in his second consecutive game, Seth Towns checked in at the 13:36 mark, grabbed an offensive rebound and made a jumper for his first points as a Buckeye. After only playing two minutes against UCLA, he saw extended minutes against Rutgers and finished with four points and four boards.

Ohio State then attacked Rutgers in the paint with the Scarlet Knights’ big men in foul trouble and trimmed the lead down to 57-51 with 9:40 remaining in the game. Myles Johnson fouled out less than a minute later. Johnson was starting in place of injured freshman center Cliff Omoruyi, making the Scarlet Knights thin at the post position.

After Johnson fouled out, momentum swung in the Buckeyes’ favor as they went off on a 18-4 run to take a 69-61 lead with 3:06 remaining in the game. Rutgers finally put a stop to the Ohio State scoring run with a free throw at the 2:47 mark but it proved to be too little too late as the Buckeyes maintained control and held on for the 80-68 victory.

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