COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a typical Big Ten slugfest, No. 16 Ohio State had the last punch, outlasting visiting Penn State 61-56 on Sunday afternoon.
The Buckeyes have swept the season series with Penn State (8-7, 3-4) and improve to 11-4 overall and 5-2 in Big Ten play.
E.J. Liddell again led the Buckeyes with 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Zed Key was the second Buckeye in double figures with 10 points while former Nittany Lion Jamari Wheeler added nine points, four rebounds and two steals.
Eugene Brown III came off the bench to score six points and Kyle Young grabbed seven rebounds and had a crucial late steal with under 90 seconds to play.
The Buckeyes won the game with their defense and rebounding. OSU frustrated Penn State into 39.6 percent shooting for the game which was just the second game this season that the Nittany Lions failed to shoot above 40 percent. The Buckeyes also won the battle on the boards 37-30 as Penn State came in with a +4.9 mark on the boards per game.
Ohio State used a 15-3 run early in the game to turn a 10-4 deficit into a 19-13 lead and would never trail the rest of the game. Liddell had nine of his 19 points in the first half and the Buckeyes led 27-22 at the break after holding PSU to under 30 percent shooting.
In the second half, Ohio State took as much as a 10-point lead on a couple of occasions but was never able to put Penn State away. The Nittany Lions had a couple of runs that cut the deficit to four points, the last of which came with less than 10 seconds remaining. But key defensive stops down the stretch helped seal the victory.
The Buckeyes will remain at home this week and host IUPUI on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. on BTN. The game was added to the schedule on Jan. 10. On Saturday, the Buckeyes will complete the short three-game home stand on Saturday by hosting Nebraska.