COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the better part of the game, it didn’t look like it was going to be Ohio State’s night vs. top-ranked Duke. But the Buckeyes hung in and used a 14-1 run over the final five minutes to knock-off the No. 1 Blue Devils 71-66 in front of a sellout crowd at Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center.
This was the Buckeyes’ 10th win all-time vs. an AP No. 1 and it lifts them to 5-2 on the season. The loss was the first of the season for Duke.
Sophomore Zed Key had his best night as a Buckeye, powering in a career-high 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Graduate Cedric Russell was also huge in the closing moments. He was 3-of-3 from long range, had three rebounds and was 3-of-4 from the line, sealing the victory in the final seconds. Russell finished with 12 points on the night.
Junior E.J. Liddell had another all-round great game. He notched his second double-double of the year with 14 points and 14 rebounds. He also dished-out a career-high six assists and swatted three shots.
Freshman Malaki Branham was big in the first half, keeping the Buckeyes in the game early. He was 4-of-6 shooting and had eight points and two rebounds. Senior captain Justin Ahrens was 2-of-7 from long range and was one-off his career-high with six rebounds.
The Buckeyes will open Big Ten play this weekend with a trip to State College, Pa., to take on Penn State. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night and BTN will have the coverage.