November 18, 2021

Buckeyes Comeback Effort at Xavier Falls Short


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CINCINNATI, Ohio – Down by as much as 11 in a hostile environment, Ohio State clawed back to within two points late in the second half but wasn’t able to fully complete the comeback in a 71-65 setback at Xavier Thursday night.

The Buckeyes drop their first game this season (3-1) and also dropped their first game in the Gavitt Tip-off Games.

E.J. Liddell turned in another strong effort. He finished with a team-high 17 points to go along with a career-high eight blocks and seven rebounds.

Meechie Johnson Jr. was the Buckeyes’ spark in the first half as he scored nine of his season-high 14 points in the first 20 minutes.

Kyle Young also turned in double-figures off the bench as he scored 12 points and had six rebounds. Jamari Wheeler hit a pair of big threes down the stretch and finished with six points and six assists. Freshman Malaki Branham chipped-in with seven points.

Xavier forced the Buckeyes into nine first-half turnovers and limited them to just 33 percent shooting en route to building a 34-26 lead at the break. The lead was still 10 points with eight minutes to play before a 10-3 Buckeye run over the next four and a half minutes cut the Xavier advantage to just 57-54 with 3:29 to play.

The margin went back to seven with two minutes to go but the Buckeyes responded with a three-point play from Young and three-pointers by Liddell and Wheeler to pull to within two at 67-65 with 17 seconds left. But Xavier made four free throws down the stretch to close out the victory.


  • E.J. Liddell blocked a career-high eight shots. That was the blocks since Dallas Lauderdale swatted eight shots in vs. UCSB on March 19, 2010
  • Meechie Johnson Jr. posted a career-high for the second consecutive game, finishing with 14 points on 3-of-6 from long range
  • Jamari Wheeler was 2-of-3 from long range in the game and is now 6-of-11 on the season
  • Wheeler has dished-out five or more assists in each of the last three games
  • Eugene Brown III pulled down a career-high eight rebounds, four on the offensive end and four on the defensive end
  • Ohio State is now 3-1 in the Gavitt Tip-off Games

Up Next

The Buckeyes will head to Fort Myers, Fla., next week for the conclusion of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-off. Ohio State downed Bowling Green 89-58 on Monday in the first game of the event and will next take on Seton Hall on Monday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. The Buckeyes will then face either Cal or Florida on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Both games will be televised on FS1.