Well, the bar has been set high for entertainment when it comes to Ohio State basketball games this season. The Buckeyes took it to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights early but had to wrestle away victory from defeat by making a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, to head out of the building with a thrilling 67-66 victory thanks to Tanner Holden.
The Buckeyes led by 11 points at one point midway through the first half, but then started to fall into the trap of getting to the wrong spots on the floor on offense and allowing the Rutgers’ defense to start to turn them over. The Scarlet Knights slowly began to whittle the lead down, allowing OSU to only enter halftime up by two points, 31-29.
The second half was played as a nip-and-tuck affair with Rutgers taking a three-point lead late on a couple of free throws, seemingly sealing the game. The Scarlet Knights used the strategy of fouling rather than letting Ohio State shoot a three-pointer, with Bruce Thorton calmly stepping to the line to knock down both. The Buckeyes then fouled with a little over 5 seconds left and Rutgers only converted on 1-of-2 free throws to set up the drama.
Ohio State went the length of the court, almost being pushed out of bounds before a desperate pass found Tanner Holden who bombed away a deep three near the sideline that found the bottom of the bucket for an improbable win.
Zed Key had himself another whale of a game with another double-double, scoring 22 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and showing about a dozen different celebrations with his hands. Freshmen Brice Sensabaugh (13) and Bruce Thorton (10), also scored in double figures.
Ohio State was a monster on the glass, outrebounding a very good and physical Rutgers squad 35-27 to balance out a less-than-stellar shooting effort (46.4%). The Buckeyes turned the ball over 14 times but managed to force Rutgers into 13 of their own.
Final here in Columbus!!!! With a BUZZER BEATER by @tannerholden_23
— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) December 9, 2022
With the win, Ohio State improves to 7-2 overall and starts out the Big Ten season in the winning column at 1-0. The Buckeyes now get a little break and will next be in action next Saturday against a struggling North Carolina team that started the preseason at No. 1.