Buckeyes Blast Jaguars to Improve to 9-0 at Home
In a rare January non conference tilt, Ohio State, making up one of the lost games during the COVID pause, welcomed IUPUI to the Schottenstein Center and weren’t very gracious hosts, hammering the visiting Jaguars 83-37 to improve to 12-4. The Jaguars, having a rough go of it thus far this season, fell to 1-15. The Buckeyes struggled to get things going in the first half, but turned it on in the second half, shooting 66% in the second 20 minutes and 57% for the game, including 11 of 23 from long range. The tight Ohio State defense held the hapless Jaguars to just 32.5% shooting and 3 of 13 from deep. Gene Brown led Ohio State with 14, while E.J. Liddell completed a double double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in just 25 minutes. Cedric Russell added 12 points, while Jimmy Sotos chipped in 7 points and 9 assists.
Ohio State scored the first nine of the game to take a 9-0 lead into the first media timeout. The Buckeyes scores came from Zed Key inside, an EJ Liddell triple and a pair of Malaki Branham buckets. IUPUI answered the early Buckeye run with a 5-0 run of their own, holding the Buckeyes scoreless for nearly three minutes before a pair of Joey Brunk free throws got the Buckeyes back on the board. The Buckeyes extended the lead when Kyle Young fed a cutting Jimmy Sotos for a lay up to give Ohio State a 13-5 lead at the under 12 media timeout. Key split a pair of free throws before the Jaguars drilled a triple to cut the lead to 6 and on the next Buckeye possession, Key caught a pass in the paint and dunked to put Ohio State back up 8. IUPUI knocked down a pair of free throws before Sotos found Gene Brown cutting along the baseline for a lay-in and the Buckeyes were up 8 again. An old-fashioned three point play by the Jags trimmed the Buckeye lead to five before Branham hit a deep three in the left corner and after an IUPUI turnover, Brown hit a pair of free throws to put Ohio State ahead 10. Jamari Wheeler knocked down a three, off a kick from the high post from Liddell, but IUPUI hit a three of their own from straight on top to stop an 8-0 Buckeye run and at the under 8 media timeout, Ohio State led the Jaguars 26-16. Out of the timeout, Brown buried a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 12, but four straight Jaguar points cut the lead to 8. Liddell hit a fade mid paint to add to the Buckeye lead before a Jaguar hoop trimmed the lead to 8 at the final media timeout of the half. The lead went back to 10 when Key bagged a pair of free throws and Liddell scored on a put back to put Ohio State up by 12. After an IUPUI turnover, Cedric Russell buried a three from the top and on the next IUPUI possession, the Jags got a short jumper to fall to cut the Buckeye advantage to 13 and at the half, Ohio State led IUPUI 37-24. The Buckeyes shot 48% from the floor, but made just 4 of 12 from beyond the arc, while IUPUI made 47% of their attempts and 2 of 5 from long range. The Buckeyes played 10 guys in the first 20 minutes and were led by a trio of players, E.J. Liddell, Zed Key and Malaki Branham all with 7 points each. IUPUI’s leading scorer was Bakari LaStrap, who came off the bench to score 8.
Seven points from Brown, four from Liddell and a Young bucket helped Ohio State to score 13 of the first 17 second half points to open up a 50-28 Buckeye lead, forcing IUPUI to call timeout with 15:27 left in the game. The onslaught continued following the timeout as Key scored at the rim with the left hand, but a Jaguar jumper at the end of the shot clock stopped a 9-0 Ohio State run and cut the Ohio State lead to 22. Back came the Buckeyes. A pair of Liddell free throws, a Young jump hook and a Russell triple ballooned the lead to 29 with just under 11 minutes remaining. The run continued as Justin Ahrens found Young at the rim for a hoop before a Jaguar triple ended the 9-0 Buckeye run. Young buried a triple to answer before four straight Jaguar points cut into the big Buckeye lead. Ahrens drilled a triple to end the mini run and at the under 8 media timeout and 5:47 to go, Ohio State enjoyed a 67-37 lead. Back to back Russell triples from the right wing had the Buckeyes on a 9-0 run at the final media timeout and way ahead on the scoreboard, leading IUPUI 73-37. The run continued out of the timeout as Brunk scored off the glass. Brown split a pair of free throws and Sotos bagged two before newly minted scholarship player Harrison Hookfin hit a pull up mid lane. The Buckeyes would score once more as Sotos drilled a long triple from the top to end the scoring as Ohio State finished the game on a 19-0 run coasting to the win.
This game was more about getting a lot of guys game minutes than anything else and they accomplished exactly what they were looking for. Chris Holtmann went with a variety of lineups for the majority of the basketball game and those minutes were extremely valuable for some of those who don’t necessarily play big minutes in most games. Playing nearly the entire healthy roster in the first half, the Buckeyes struggled to get rhythm on the offensive end but found that rhythm in the second half, pulling away from the Jaguars, who rank last in college basketball in scoring offense. The Buckeyes had a clear size and athletic advantage, out rebounded the smaller Jaguars 28-19 and played with tremendous effort and efficiency in what was clearly a major mismatch. Ohio State played without Meechie Johnson for the second straight game and continued to play without Justice Sueing and Seth Towns who are progressing and due back soon, which will only add to the depth of this basketball team.
The Buckeyes hit the floor again on Saturday afternoon, hosting Nebraska at the Schott. Tip time is scheduled for 2:15 PM and airing on BTN.