Ohio State Holds Off Penn State to Sweep Regular-Season Series With 61-56 Win

By Griffin Strom on January 16, 2022 at 2:08 pm

Penn State couldn’t beat the Buckeyes in its own backyard last month, and despite a promising run late on Sunday, the Nittany Lions fell short again at the Schottenstein Center in the second matchup.

Ohio State made it a regular-season sweep of the Nittany Lions with a 61-56 win at home Sunday, and the Buckeyes put the clamps on Penn State – which was without leading scorer Seth Lundy – as it struggled to put the ball in the hole for much of the contest.

Team 1 2 FINAL
#16 OHIO STATE 27 34 61
PENN STATE 22 34 56

The Buckeyes had a rough day from the floor as well, but dominated on the glass and managed to stay out in front of the Nittany Lions by a couple possessions as the game entered its latter stages. Ohio State might have had an easier time pulling away from the Nittany Lions if not for double-digit misses from the free-throw line, but the Buckeyes made enough to keep Penn State at bay in the final few minutes.

A key steal from Kyle Young in the final 90 seconds stopped Penn State from cutting it to a one-score game, and the fifth-year forward knocked down a pair of free throws on the other end to put Ohio State back ahead seven points in the final minute.

E.J. Liddell led the Buckeyes with 19 points for the game.

Penn State capitalized on a slow start for the Buckeyes early, going up 10-4 by the 15:17 mark, but Ohio State responded back with an 8-0 run to take the lead for the first time, 12-10, with a layup by Jamari Wheeler a little over eight minutes into the action.

The Buckeyes pushed that 8-0 run to a 19-4 stretch through the middle of the half, as Penn State hit just one of its 12 shots at one point, and Ohio State went up 23-14 with 5:52 to play in the half.

Penn State scored eight of the final 12 points of the half to head to the locker room down just five points, 27-22, but the Nittany Lions shot just 29.6 percent from the floor and 18.6 percent from three in the first 20 minutes. Ohio State didn’t shoot much better, finishing 9-for-27 from the floor and 2-for-9 from downtown, but still held on to a two-possession lead at intermission.

61 POINTS 56
17-44 (38.6%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 21-53 (39.6%)
3-12 (25%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 6-22 (27.3%)
24-36 (66.7%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 8-14 (57.1%)

E.J. Liddell led all scorers with nine points on 3-for-6 shooting in the first half, but no Buckeye finished particularly hot, as the team hit just one of its final nine shots before the halftime buzzer sounded.

Ohio State scored the opening five points of the second half, though, as the scarlet and gray extended its lead to 10 points in the first 2:15 of the final period. Zed Key scored three of the first four field goals in the half for the Buckeyes, with the third of which putting Ohio State back ahead by double digits at the 14:03 mark.

Penn State strung some baskets together to stay within striking distance through the middle of the half, but three straight Ohio State buckets capped off by a Eugene Brown dunk put the Buckeyes up, 44-34, to force a Penn State timeout at 8:54.

Missed free throws and turnovers by the Buckeyes down the stretch helped Penn State cut the lead to just four points with 5:24 to play, but Liddell quickly countered with a 3-pointer to put Ohio State back ahead by seven on the next possession. But just a minute later, a Nittany Lion three made it a two-score game once again.

Penn State had a chance to cut the Buckeye lead down to one possession in the final 1:30, but turned it over as Young came up with a steal and called timeout. On the next Buckeye possession, Young sank a pair of free throws and the Buckeyes ultimately closed out the win.

What’s next: Ohio State stays at home for a Tuesday meeting with IUPUI with the tip-off slated for 7 p.m.

Other Notes

  • Ohio State has won three straight games against Penn State entering Sunday, and five of its past six dating back to 2019.
  • Freshman guard Meechie Johnson was unavailable for the second straight game for Ohio State due to a facial injury suffered in practice last week.
  • Justice Sueing (abdominal) and Seth Towns (back) were out once again for Ohio State. Sueing has missed all but the first two games of the season for the Buckeyes, while Towns has not played this year.
  • Sunday’s game was Chris Holtmann’s first back on the sideline at the Schottenstein Center since Dec. 11. Holtmann missed last week’s Ohio State-Northwestern matchup due to COVID-19.
  • Ohio State guard Jamari Wheeler made his second start against his former team Sunday, having played the last four seasons with the Nittany Lions.
  • Buckeye forward Zed Key briefly left the game in the first half with an apparent ankle injury, but returned just a few minutes later with no visible limitations.
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