In Ohio State’s last home game of the season seniors Kam Williams and Jae’Sean Tate led the Buckeyes to a win on their senior night, for their last game in the Scarlet and Gray at the Schottenstein Center.
No. 16 Ohio State (22-7, 14-3 Big Ten) got off to a slow start but dominated Rutgers (13-16, 3-14 Big Ten) 79-52 on Tuesday night to get back on track after losing their last two games on the road to Penn State and Michigan.
“That was part of the perfect storm,” redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop said. “Part of just because we came off a couple losses, but then it being senior night, we obviously wanted to get the win against a good Rutgers team and kind of send everybody off.”
Williams finished the game with 13 points, including 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, while Tate finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. Bates-Diop was held quiet, scoring a season-low six points with eight rebounds.
Rutgers closed out the first half on a 16-2 run to bring the score to 32-27. The run by the Scarlet Knights held the Buckeyes to no points in the last 2:19 minutes of the half. However, the Buckeyes started the second half on an 18-2 run and were able to provide some separation from the Scarlet Knights.
“They got some offensive rebounds, got in transition a little bit and we just weren’t executing. It happened so fast, they went on a 16-2 run to end the half and that was huge. We knew that they’ve come back on teams and made it a really competitive game,” redshirt senior guard Andrew Dakich said. “For us to get that start in the second half was crucial and C.J. Jackson got us going.”
Jackson led all players with 18 points and was 8-for-12 from the field. Junior guard Corey Sanders led Rutgers with 12 points and was 6-for-12 from the field.
“I thought our guys made some good plays in transition. C.J. obviously had a couple of really nice floaters. He’s got to continue to drive and look to score,” coach Holtmann said. “We have to play tougher and with more force across the board. When teams are trying to big boy us and being really physical you gotta make them pay by getting paint touches and using your dribble in.”
Just under two minutes into the game the Buckeyes started a 10-0 run highlighted by back to back 3-pointers by Williams.
After Ohio State’s run early in the first half, Rutgers junior guard Corey Sanders slammed a dunk to bring it to a five-point game but the Buckeyes responded with another 6-1 run to pull ahead 10 points.
The Scarlet Knights hit their first 3 of the night with just 5:04 remaining in the first half. Rutgers finished the game shooting just 17 percent from 3 compared to 39 percent from the Buckeyes. Rutgers was 2-for-12 from behind the arc while Ohio State attempted almost double the amount of 3s and finished 9-for-23.
Overall, the Buckeyes shot 59 percent from the field compared to the Scarlet Knights 41 percent. However, the major divide came in the second half when Rutgers shot only 39 percent from the field and Ohio State made 66 percent of its shots.