The Ohio State Buckeyes (15-4, 6-0) continued their winning ways against Big Ten competition on Sunday night, as they defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 68-46, at The RAC in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Once again, Keita Bates-Diop led the way for the Buckeyes. KBD put together a 20-point scoring output, while also grabbing down nine rebounds. His scoring and rebound total was the leader amongst both teams.
On top of Bates-Diop going off for double figures, two other Buckeyes broke that threshold, too. Kaleb Wesson put up 10 points, and had, like KBD, a nine rebound outing on the road. Kam Williams put up 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, while playing for 22 minutes.
By holding Rutgers to 46 points, Ohio State set their new season low for points allowed. However, two Scarlet Knights broke a 10-point output. Geo Baker tallied 14 points off of 5-of-15 shooting, while Corey Sanders put together a 13-point night off of a 6-of-14 evening from the field.
Knocking down shots were a constant theme for OSU in the second half. The Buckeyes ended the night with a 46.6 percent mark from the field, carried by a 55.2 percent field goal make percentage in the final 20 minutes of play. On the other side, however, Rutgers struggled from all points on the court. In the first half, the home team nailed an eye-opening 19.4 percent of their shots; of the 31 shots attempted, Rutgers hit just six of them. From three-point range, they went 1-of-10 in the first 20 minutes against the Buckeyes.
In the second half, Rutgers made 39.3 percent of their attempts, bringing their average for the game up to 28.8 percent. Even though they made more shots from inside and downtown, the Buckeyes pulled away without much trouble.
The win paces OSU to a 6-0 start in conference play, and a share of the lead atop the Big Ten standings with Purdue.
Here’s a quick breakdown on how this one went down.
The first half didn’t have a lot of thrills. In the first 10 minutes of action, the Buckeyes held a slim 11-9 lead over the Scarlet Knights. A few more minutes of play later, and the score was stuck in the low teens, as OSU lead 15-11 with a little over six minutes left in the first half.
By halftime, though, the Bucks pulled away courtesy of a 10-point half from Keita Bates-Diop. On the road, Chris Holtmann’s squad was well on their way to another Big Ten conference win, as they went into intermission with a 28-15 lead.
Whatever momentum they were riding in the first half, they cranked the meter all the way to maximum overdrive, as the Buckeyes pulled away in a hurry. The visitors scored the first 10 points, behind a combination of layups, dunks and jumpers from Kaleb Wesson, Jae’Sean Tate and Bates-Diop.
After a free throw by Souf Mensah broke up the 10-0 scoring run, the Bucks went back and scored four more points via Wesson and KBD. Issa Thiam did his part to knockdown a jumper to break up the OSU mini-run, however, that just allowed for another run to start off. Kam Williams went on a 6-point run by himself. Williams knocked down a jumper and a three-pointer—while also knocking down the and-1 off the three-point make.
Rutgers, though, was about to get something to go their way: a scoring run of their own. The home team went on a 14-0 break, making four three-point shots across their next five makes. A hot-hand against the Bucks brought the deficit down, but OSU still had command of the scoreboard, 48-32, with 10:45 left to play.
Baskets were then traded amongst the Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights, as Wesson and Corey Sanders put points on the board for their respective squads. C.J. Jackson then went to work by putting in a basket, and followed that up with a couple free throws over the next minute of action. With Jackson putting the free throws away, OSU held on to an insurmountable 60-37 lead.
Rutgers would close the gap by just a hair, but by the time the clock hit all zeros, Ohio State walked out of New Jersey with a 22-point road victory.
Up next for Ohio State will be Northwestern on Wednesday night. That one will once again be on the road, and will take place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. Tip Off is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.