Any hope of a Bowling Green upset over Ohio State likely died with its 2-for-20 start from the field.
The Falcons had no answer for a quick start for the in-state rival Buckeyes, who demonstrated their superiority in a pillar-to-post blowout for the first time this season. Having beaten their first two mid-major opponents by a combined 11 points last week, the Buckeyes pulled away with a 89-58 win in the Schottenstein Center to put a bow on their third victory of the season.
The result was academic after the first half, in which Ohio State used a 24-4 run out of the gates to head to the locker room up 41-18 on a Bowling Green team that found anything but offensive success in the first 20 minutes.
|#19 OHIO STATE||41||48||89|
Ohio State opened the game on an 11-0 run to put Bowling Green behind early. Jamari Wheeler hit a 3-pointer on the first possession of the game, one of two threes for the Penn State transfer in the first four minutes, and E.J. Liddell followed up with another 3-point make the next time down the floor.
Bowling Green hit two shots to stop the bleeding, but the Buckeyes returned fire with a 13-0 run to take a 24-4 lead with 7:48 to play in the first half after a Meechie Johnson layup. Four minutes earlier, Johnson hit Eugene Brown with a bounce pass in transition to produce one of the highlights of the opening period, a one-handed slam from the second-year wing.
We are having fun! pic.twitter.com/NpnbkJWvDx— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 15, 2021
Meanwhile, Bowling Green made just two of its first 20 attempts from the floor and finished the first half shooting 25.8 percent from the field and 20 percent from the 3-point line.
The Buckeyes, on the other hand, connected on 53.1 percent of their shots, and Justin Ahrens hit 2-of-3 threes to lead Ohio State with eight points in the opening 20 minutes. Ahrens scored the opening points of the second half for the Buckeyes with another 3-point make, and that shot helped Ohio State off to an 11-2 start that widened the lead even more.
Despite leaning more heavily on a zone defense in the second half, Bowling Green struggled to slow down a potent Ohio State offense, which shot 50 percent in the final 20 minutes to close out the win.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||BOWLING GREEN|
|36-70 (51.4%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||24-61 (39.3%)|
|12-32 (37.5%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||7-21 (33.3%)|
|5-7 (71.4%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||3-8 (37.5%)|
Liddell, who entered averaging 27 points per game, finished the first half with seven points as the scoring load saw more balance for the Buckeyes. Liddell finished with 13 points on the night, shooting 6-for-8 from the floor. Ohio State didn’t need any more from its star forward.
Freshman guard Malaki Branham, who made his second career start Monday, scored four straight points for Ohio State during a stretch in the final three minutes of the first half, including a dunk and an outside jumper that gave the Buckeye their largest lead at the time, 39-13. Branham finished with eight points on the night to set his new career-high.
Brown and Johnson each set new career-highs for the Buckeyes as well, with 12 and 13 points, respectively. Zed Key added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Falcons were more accurate from the floor in the second half, hitting 53.3 percent of their attempts from the field, but it was not nearly enough to meaningfully cut into the Buckeye lead.
What’s next: Ohio State travels to Cincinnati to take on Xavier at 6:30 p.m. Thursday for the first road game of the season.
- Justice Sueing was unavailable for the game due to an ongoing lower body injury that rendered him unavailable in the Nov. 1 exhibition against Indianapolis.
- Cedric Russell returned to the team Monday after missing the Niagara game due to a death in the family.
- For the second straight game, Jamari Wheeler, Malaki Branham, Justin Ahrens, E.J. Liddell and Zed Key started the game for Ohio State. Joey Brunk was the first man in off the bench.
- This matchup was the first between the Buckeyes and Falcons since 2008, an Ohio State win. However, Bowling Green won the time before that, a nine-point victory in 1994.
- Ohio State entered the game with a 14-game win streak against MAC opposition dating back to 1998. In fact, the Buckeyes are 59-13 against MAC opponents all-time.
- Only four players on the Bowling Green roster actually hail from the Buckeye State.