January 9, 2022

Liddell’s Career-High Pushes Buckeyes Past Northwestern 95-87

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Coming off its worst offensive game of the season, No. 13/12 Ohio State enjoyed its best offensive game of the year as the Buckeyes scored a season-high in a 95-87 victory over Northwestern on Sunday night.

Junior forward E.J. Liddell was a big reason why as he scored a career-high 34 points on a career-best 5-of-7 from long range. Liddell made just five combined shots over the last two games but came out on Sunday and made his fist six shots from the floor, including 5-of-5 from deep. He had 17 points in the first five minutes.

The Buckeyes, who never trailed in the game, improve to 10-3 on the season and 4-1 in conference play while Northwestern falls to 8-5 and 1-3.

Freshman Malaki Branham continued his recent hot streak. He finished with 24 points on 13-of-14 from the free throw line and dished-out a season-high five assists.

Jamari Wheeler, who was the shortest player on the floor, grabbed a game-high and season-high eight rebounds. He also had eight points, six assists and five steals.

Zed Key was strong inside, going 4-of-4 from the floor to finish with eight points and three rebounds.

Meechie Johnson Jr. and Cedric Russell came off the bench and made their presence felt, combining to go 5-of-6 from long range and finishing with six and nine points, respectively.

Ohio State shot 56.9 percent from the field and was 26-of-27 from the free throw line. The free throw shooting was key as the Buckeyes ran out to an early lead thanks to Liddell’s hot start and was able to keep the Wildcats at arm’s length the rest of the way.

The Buckeyes took as much as a 15-point lead in the first half and led 51-39 at the break thanks to a season-high 66.7 percent shooting in the opening half. Northwestern used an 8-0 run to creep to within four at 55-51 with 15:45 to play. But a 13-5 Buckeye run over the next five minutes helped restore and gave OSU some breathing room.

Northwestern got as close as six a couple of times in the final 3:20 but wasn’t able really threaten down the stretch.

Notes

  • Assistant coach Jake Diebler served as acting head coach for the game as head coach Chris Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon missed the game due to health and safety protocols.
  • E.J. Liddell had a career night, finishing with a career-high 35 points. He made his first five three-point attempts and finished the night 5-of-7 from deep. He also blocked five shots and had two assists.
  • Jamari Wheeler has dished-out five or more assists in eight games this season after sharing six times tonight.
  • Wheeler’s five steals were also a season-high and one-off his career high
  • Ohio State’s 95 points were the most in a Big Ten game since scoring 106 vs. Penn State on Dec. 7, 2019. This was just the second Big Ten game of 95 or more points for the Buckeyes dating back to the 2006-07 season
  • The Buckeyes scored 51 points in the first half, marking the first time OSU scored 50 or more points in the opening half of a game since scoring 60 vs. Marshall on Nov. 25, 2016.
  • The 66.7 percent (18-of-27) shooting in the first half was the best shooting half of the season for the Buckeyes
  • This was the seventh game this season with 10 or more three-point field goals as the Buckeyes were 11-of-25 from long range
  • Ohio State improves to 15-1 all-time against Northwestern in Value City Arena

Up Next

The Buckeyes head back out on the road this week when they travel to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers Thursday night. Ohio State won the earlier meeting this season with Wisconsin 73-55 on Dec. 11 in Columbus.

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