Make it two full weeks (and counting) since Ohio State’s last win.
In a rematch following last month’s controversial finish in Columbus, Rutgers evened the season series with the scarlet and gray and handed the Buckeyes their fourth straight loss in the process. It took overtime to do so, but the Scarlet Knights scraped by with a 68-64 win on their home court Sunday.
Neither side could throw a stone in the ocean early as the Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights scored just 43 total points in the first 20 minutes of play. Rutgers led for just 83 seconds of the first half at home, but closed the gap early in the second to begin taking control. Ohio State regained the edge midway through the half, but the lead repeatedly changed down the stretch.
Brice Sensabaugh tied things up with a jumper at the 49-second mark, which proved to be the final points scored in regulation. Ohio State held a one-point lead with 1:55 to go in overtime, but Rutgers’ Clifford Omoryui and Mawot Mag hit back-to-back shots to go up four points with 38 seconds remaining.
The Scarlet Knights closed things out from there.
Sensabaugh led the way for the Buckeyes with 20 points and 11 rebounds, but Ohio State had its worst shooting performance of the season (34.3%) and sent Rutgers to the free-throw line 27 times. The Scarlet Knights knocked down 20 of them.
Both sides combined to shoot 0-for-11 before Rutgers hit the first basket of the game on a coast-to-coast transition score on a steal from Caleb McConnell. The Buckeyes missed their first seven shots in a row to start out, but Zed Key gave Ohio State a spark with back-to-back buckets as soon as he entered the game off the bench.
Those four points by Key kicked off a 15-0 run for Ohio State, which included three 3-pointers, and Rutgers was forced to stop the action less than a minute after the under-12 media timeout. Four different Buckeyes scored during a stretch that lasted more than four minutes and gave Ohio State a 15-4 lead by the 11:08 mark.
But just like that, Rutgers responded with three straight makes to go on a 7-0 run of its own in the next 1:19. Both sides went ice cold after that, though, as Ohio State missed 11 of its final 12 shots of the half and Rutgers hit just two of its last 11.
|23-67 (34.3%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||21-62 (33.9%)|
|8-21 (38.1%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||6-24 (25.0%)|
|10-12 (83.3%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||20-27 (74.1%)|
Both teams shot under 30% from the field in a low-scoring opening period that featured plenty of ugly offense. Ohio State’s bench production made the difference as it outscored Rutgers’ reserves 16-0 to help the Buckeyes hold onto a 23-20 lead at the intermission.
Omoruyi picked up his third foul in the opening minutes, but that didn’t stop the Scarlet Knights from rattling off five straight points to tie the game, 25-all, at the 18:27 mark. Three Ohio State turnovers in a 2:13 stretch helped Rutgers take its first lead since early in the first half on the back of a 7-0 run before three minutes passed in the second half.
The Scarlet Knights went more than four minutes without hitting a field goal through the middle of the period, but supplemented its scoring at the free-throw line. Nine minutes in the second half, Rutgers had already knocked down all nine of its attempts from the charity stripe. Three Buckeyes had three fouls before the 11-minute mark.
After struggling to score early, Sensabaugh got going with five quick points on back-to-back buckets to put Ohio State up six points, 44-38, on the heels of a 9-0 run. The game went back and forth after that as both sides traded leads over the next several minutes.
Neither side managed to get any breathing room as the game remained knotted up, 55-all, with the clock ticking under three minutes. But with 1:55 to go, an Omoruyi dunk put Rutgers up two and the Buckeyes called a timeout to regroup just 11 seconds later.
Sensabaugh tied it up in the final minute, and both teams missed a final shot to win the game in regulation.
Sean McNeil (who finished with 11 points) fouled out in the first 20 seconds of the extra period, but upon checking in thereafter, Key gave Ohio State a one-point edge on a layup. Less than a minute later, Rutgers’ Cam Spencer took the lead right back with a two-point make of his own.
With 1:50 to go, Sensabaugh put Ohio State back up, 61-60. But the Buckeyes gave up a layup to Omoruyi on the next possession to go ahead again. Mag nailed a 3-pointer the next time down and gave the Scarlet Knights a 65-61 edge with 38 seconds to go.
Rutgers knocked down free throws the rest of the way to put a stamp on it.
Spencer finished with a game-high 21 points, Mag added 15 and Omoruyi poured in 14 of his own despite the Scarlet Knights shooting just 33.9% from the floor for the game.
- Ohio State beat Rutgers, 67-66, on a game-winning buzzer-beater three by Tanner Holden when the teams last met on Dec. 8. However, the Big Ten issued a statement the next day to say the officiating crew missed a call that would have nullified Holden’s game-winner.
- The Buckeyes employed a new starting lineup against the Scarlet Knights with Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Isaac Likekele, Justice Sueing and Felix Okpara getting the nod.
- Brice Sensabaugh came off the bench for the first time since Dec. 3, and Likekele made his first start since that Dec. 3 contest.
- Okpara made the second start of his freshman season as Zed Key came off the bench for the second straight game since returning from a shoulder injury.
- Ohio State lost its last matchup at the Rutgers Athletic Center in a 66-64 loss in New Jersey last season.