GAMEDAY Mens Basketball

Ohio State 75, Minnesota 64

By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Sports Writer

MINNEAPOLIS - E.J. Liddell had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help No. 16 Ohio State muscle past Minnesota for a 75-64 victory.

Liddell, who stretched his double-digit scoring streak to 27 games, became the 60th player in program history to pass 1,000 career points and led an overpowering effort by the Buckeyes on the glass. The rebounding margin was 48-22, more than enough to offset a quiet night for Ohio State's outside shooters.

Kyle Young scored 14 points and Zed Key added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Buckeyes (13-4, 6-2 Big Ten), who played without point guard Jamari Wheeler - a foot injury keeping him out for the first time in his five-year career after 143 consecutive games.

Meechie Johnson Jr. started in Wheeler's place, wearing a protective mask after missing three games with a facial fracture. Malaki Branham pitched in with 11 points and six rebounds for the Buckeyes, who played their first conference game in 11 days due to a COVID-19-postponement of their matchup with Nebraska last weekend. They beat IUPUI on Jan. 18 in an add-on game to make up for the three cancellations they had during a 22-day layoff in December.

Jamison Battle returned from an illness to score 15 points for the Gophers (11-6, 2-6), who also had E.J. Stephens back from a COVID-19 absence. Payton Willis and Sean Sutherlin each had 12 points, and Luke Loewe added 11 points for Minnesota.

Willis, a co-winner of the Big Ten Player of the Week award after scoring a career-high 32 points on 8-for-13 shooting from 3-point range against Rutgers, carried the Gophers to that critical victory on Saturday while three of their top four scorers were sidelined.

The transfer-heavy team in coach Ben Johnson's first season is already short on size and depth, and this was another one of those games in the unrelenting Big Ten when cohesion, heart and hustle weren't enough against one of the league's top teams.

The Gophers knocked down their share of timely 3-pointers, including one from Battle that gave them a 29-27 lead with 2:50 to go before the break, but a two-point halftime deficit quickly ballooned to double digits with an assertive start to the second half by the Buckeyes.

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann, in his fifth season after arriving from Butler, notched his 100th victory with the Buckeyes. He also won on the raised Williams Arena floor for the first time - same for the players. The Gophers won the previous three matchups here, including on Dec. 15, 2019, when Ohio State was No. 3 in The Associated Press poll.


Ohio State
Player Pos Min FG-FGA FT-FTA 3P-3PA OR-TR Ast Blk Stl TO PF Pts
E. Liddell F 35 9-14 3-3 2-3 8-15 5 1 1 3 4 23
Z. Key F 19 6-9 0-0 0-0 3-8 0 1 0 1 2 12
J. Ahrens F 15 1-5 0-0 1-5 0-2 1 0 0 0 0 3
M. Branham G 33 5-14 0-0 1-4 4-6 3 1 0 0 1 11
M. Johnson Jr. G 30 1-7 0-0 1-6 0-5 3 1 0 1 3 3
K. Young   23 5-7 4-4 0-2 2-4 4 1 0 0 2 14
C. Russell   20 3-7 0-0 2-6 0-1 1 0 0 1 1 8
E. Brown III   16 0-2 0-0 0-1 0-2 0 0 0 0 2 0
J. Sotos   7 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 3 0 0 0 1 0
J. Brunk   2 0-0 1-2 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals   200 30-66
(.455)
8-9
(.889)
7-27
(.259)
20-48 20 5 1 6 16 75


Minnesota
Player Pos Min FG-FGA FT-FTA 3P-3PA OR-TR Ast Blk Stl TO PF Pts
J. Battle F 40 5-18 2-2 3-10 0-6 1 0 0 0 2 15
C. Daniels F 12 1-2 0-0 0-0 1-1 1 1 0 2 3 2
P. Willis G 38 5-9 1-2 1-5 0-3 7 1 1 0 1 12
E. Stephens G 33 1-5 2-2 1-3 1-3 3 0 0 0 0 5
L. Loewe G 28 5-8 0-0 1-4 0-0 1 0 0 0 3 11
S. Sutherlin   26 4-8 3-5 1-1 1-4 1 0 0 0 1 12
T. Thompson   17 2-3 0-0 1-1 2-4 2 1 0 0 2 5
D. Ogele   5 1-2 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 0 0 2
Totals   199 24-55
(.436)
8-11
(.727)
8-24
(.333)
6-22 16 3 1 2 12 64
Officials: Keith Kimble, Earl Walton, Brooks Wells




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