December 5, 2021

Buckeyes Hold Off Nittany Lions 76-64

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Ohio State took as much as an 18-point lead in the second half and then held off a furious Penn State rally in the closing minutes to claim a 76-64 victory in the Big Ten opener for each team on Sunday night.

The Buckeyes are now 6-2 on the season and 1-0 in the Big Ten while Penn State falls to 4-4 and 0-1.

Penn State transfer Jamari Wheeler enjoyed his first trip back the Bryce Jordan Center. Wheeler tied a season-high with nine points, dished-out a season-high eight assists, grabbed a season-high tying five rebounds and swiped a season-high three steals.

Graduate Kyle Young also had a nice night, scoring a season-high 16 points on a career-best 4-of-4 shooting from long range. He also added seven rebounds. E.J. Liddell grinded-out 14 points to go along with five boards and three steals.

Freshman Malaki Branham was the third Buckeye in double figures with a season-high 11 points.

The Buckeyes shot over 50 percent from the floor for the fourth time this season, finishing at 51 percent (27-of-53). That included a season-high tying 12 makes from beyond the arc.

Penn State opened the game with a 12-5 run to force an early OSU timeout. Six of the Buckeyes’ next eight made field goals were from beyond the arc and the Buckeyes took a 27-19 lead midway through the opening half. OSU continued to shoot well and would lead 41-30 at the break.

The lead swelled to 18 points early in the second half thanks to three-pointers from Young and Justin Ahrens. Penn State slowly worked its way back over the next 12 minutes and got as close as six with two and a half minutes to play. Meechie Johnson Jr. and Ahrens both knocked-down big three-pointers in the final four minutes and the Buckeyes were 4-of-4 from the line to hold on for the 76-64 victory.

Notes

  • Ohio State made a season-high tying 12 three-pointers (12-of-27)
  • The Buckeye bench outscored PSU’s bench 29-5
  • OSU had 17 assists, which is its most this season since 27 against Bowling Green
  • Jamari Wheeler made the start and finished with season-highs in points (9), assists (9), rebounds (5) and steals (3) in his first game back at the Bryce Jordan Center. Wheeler played the last four seasons at Penn State.
  • Malaki Branham scored a season-high 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting
  • Kyle Young finished with a season-high 16 points and was a career-best 4-of-4 from long distance
  • Ohio State is now 60-47 in Big Ten league openers. The Buckeyes also beat Penn State in the first conference game of the 2019-20 season on Dec. 7, 2019, in Columbus.

Up Next

The Buckeyes return home for two games this week. They will take on Towson this Wednesday night at 9 p.m. before hoping back into Big Ten play on Saturday by hosting No. 23 Wisconsin at Noon.

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