Late Rally Leads Rutgers to 66-64 Upset Over Ohio State in Piscataway

By Griffin Strom on February 9, 2022 at 9:05 pm

A 10-0 Rutgers run in the final 3:07 doomed Ohio State on the road Wednesday night.

The Rutgers Athletic Center claimed another ranked Big Ten victim in upset fashion as Ohio State fell to Rutgers in its fourth conference road loss of the season. The 16th-ranked Buckeyes have now lost two of their past three games as the Scarlet Knights beat Ohio State for the first time in more than three years, topping the scarlet and gray, 66-64, in a back-and-forth battle just four days after a blowout win over Michigan State.

Team 1 2 FINAL
#16 OHIO STATE 31 33 64
RUTGERS 32 34 66

Ohio State looked like it was on the verge of taking control late, leading by eight points with 3:48 to play, but Geo Baker and company came roaring back to tie things up 64-all with 1:02 to play in the final frame. Fouled with 18 seconds to play, Baker hit both free throws to give Rutgers a two-point lead, and Ohio State did not score again despite two chances on its final possession.

After a Malaki Branham jumper was blocked out of bounds with three seconds to play, the final shot was a 3-point attempt by Justin Ahrens, but it was blocked again by the Scarlet Knights to finish off the Buckeye collapse. Ohio State missed its final seven shots to end the game, and hit just one of its last 12 attempts.

Rutgers took a 32-31 edge into halftime as the Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights traded leads 10 times in the opening period. Ohio State won the rebounding battle, 16-12, but Rutgers shot 7 percent better from the floor and outscored the Buckeyes 9-0 in fastbreak points.

64 POINTS 66
23-57 (40.4%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 25-47 (53.2%)
10-18 (55.6%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 5-15 (33.3%)
8-13 (61.5%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 11-14 (68.8%)

Four Ohio State starters scored in the first 4:06 to give the Buckeyes an early 11-7 lead, but Rutgers scored nine of the next 12 points in the contest to go up 16-14 by the 12:24 mark. The Buckeyes retook the lead with a Cedric Russell 3-pointer to make it a 24-23 game with 4:09 to go, but both teams exchanged leads on nearly every shot the rest of the way thereafter.

Branham and E.J. Liddell both led the way for the Buckeyes with eight points apiece in the early going, while Geo Baker scored 11 for Rutgers, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. The Scarlet Knights hit four of their final five shots of the first half, with Aundre Hyatt knocking down a bucket just before the buzzer to put Rutgers ahead by one at the intermission.

Both Liddell and Branham hit 3-pointers early in the second half as Ohio State looked to gain an advantage, but Rutgers stormed right back to stay within a possession of the Buckeyes and eventually tie things up again 5:28 into the final frame. After a stretch of eight makes in 10 field-goal attempts, Rutgers retook a two-point lead at the 10:46 mark following an and-one conversion from Scarlet Knight guard Paul Mulcahy.

Ohio State then embarked on a 7-0 run with contributions from its two leading scorers once again, taking its largest lead of the night at 57-52 with 8:49 to play. With a 3-point make less than a minute later, Jamari Wheeler gave the Buckeyes a six-point edge – again their largest of the game to that point.

Liddell found Kyle Young for a layup down low on a dime inside from the 3-point line at the 4:46 mark, and Zed Key increased the Ohio State lead to eight points at the free throw line on the very next possession.

Baker’s big night helped Rutgers cut the lead back down to two points in the final two minutes, and Rutgers forced an Ohio State shot clock violation with 1:27 left on the clock. A Scarlet Knight dunk then tied things up 64-all, and Rutgers took the lead a little over a minute later.

The Scarlet Knights got a stop on the final Buckeye possession, and secured the win at home. Baker finished with 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting, and scored 14 in the second half alone.

Branham led the way with 19 points for Ohio State, and Liddell had 16 of his own.

What’s next: Ohio State stays on the road for a matchup with Michigan in Ann Arbor at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Other Notes

  • Eugene Brown missed his second straight game for the Buckeyes with a toe injury. Brown joined Seth Towns, who will be unavailable for the remainder of the season as he rehabs from a back injury, and Justice Sueing on the Buckeyes’ unavailable list.
  • Ohio State won both matchups with Rutgers a season ago, with an 80-68 victory in Columbus on Dec. 23, 2020, and a 79-68 win in Piscataway on Jan. 9, 2021.
  • A starting lineup of Jamari Wheeler, Meechie Johnson Jr., Malaki Branham, E.J. Liddell and Zed Key started for the Buckeyes for the third straight game.
  • Johnson suffered an apparent ankle injury in the second half and went to the locker room. He did not return for the Buckeyes.
  • Rutgers’ last win over the Buckeyes before Wednesday was on Jan. 9, 2019, a 64-61 win at the RAC.
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