FEBRUARY 12, 2022
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – E.J. Liddell showed why he should be considered for Big Ten Player of the Year as he powered Ohio State past rival Michigan 68-57 Sunday evening inside the Crisler Center.
The Buckeyes are now 15-6 on the season and 8-4 in Big Ten play which has them right in the thick of the title race.
Liddell took over in the second half, scoring 17 of his game-high 28 points after halftime. That included making all eight of his free throws in the second half and he finished a career-best 11-of-11 at the stripe. The Belleville, Ill., native also had five rebounds, three blocks and an assist.
Another big factor in the game was the play of Cedric Russell off the bench. The graduate transfer tied his Buckeye-high with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He knocked-down both of his three-point attempts, including a deep three from the top of the arc to put the Buckeyes up 10 with just over 13 minutes to play.
Kyle Young played great defense inside on Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson, frustrating the big man throughout the night. On the offensive end, Young scored seven points and he pulled down five rebounds.
Eugene Brown III made the first start of his career on Sunday. He connected on his lone shot attempt and grabbed a career-high tying eight rebounds.
As a team, the Buckeyes shot 50 percent for the game (24-of-48) and attempted a season-low 11 three-pointers, making four. They also made 16-of-18 from the free throw line.
Freshman Malaki Branham knock-down back-to-back jumpers to open the second half to give the Buckeyes a seven-point lead. The deep three-pointer from Russell four minutes later pushed the lead to double digits, which at the time, felt huge in what was a back-and-forth game up to that point.
Michigan fought back to as close as five points with just over three minutes to play but Young knocked-down a pair of free throws coming out of a time and Branham canned another big jumper to shove the lead back out to nine points with two minutes to play. That shot sent many of the fans out the door.
The first half was a grind as buckets didn’t come easy on either end. There was four ties and nine lead changes in the first half alone and neither team led by more than four points. The Buckeyes led 33-30 at the break behind 11 points from Liddell.
- E.J. Liddell extends his double-figure scoring streak to 32 games and this was his ninth 20-point game of the season and the 17th of his career
- This was Cedric Russell’s third game in double figures as a Buckeye as he finished with Buckeye-high tying 12 points. He also had 12 points vs. Duke and IUPUI
- Eugene Brown III returned from missing the last two games with a foot injury and made his first collegiate start
- Brown III grabbed a career-high tying eight rebounds. He also grabbed eight at Xavier earlier this season.
- The Buckeyes used their seventh different starting lineup this season with Wheeler, Branham, Brown III, Liddell and Key
- The Buckeyes improve to 37-0 under head coach Chris Holtmann when holding opponents to under 60 points
- This was the 11th time this season that Ohio State has shot 50 percent or better in a game
COURTESY OSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS