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Game-winning Tanner Holden Buzzer-Beater gives Ohio State a 67-66 win over Rutgers

Tanner Holden called the game.

Team

1

2

ultimate

#25 Oyo State 31 36 67

Rutgers

29

37

66

With his first score of the night, the Wright State transfer hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give Ohio State a 67-66 victory over Rutgers in the Buckeyes’ Big Ten opener.

Ohio State was trailing by two points after a missed free throw by Rutgers’ Caleb McConnell, and the Buckeyes had a chance to tie it up or win with five seconds left. Holden’s contested dribble from the distance sent the Columbus crowd into a frenzy, as Buckeye cemented a first-year win for Ohio State.

The 25th-ranked Crimson and Gray Knights shot dead in the closing seconds of their conference-opening victory against Rutgers after an emphatic win over then-No. 10 Indiana. Ohio State extended its home winning streak to five games with another successful effort at the Schottenstein Center.

Ohio State led all but 1:42 of the first half, but after swinging momentum late in the opening period, Rutgers capitalized by taking multiple increases into the final frame. Both sides had small advantages in the back-and-forth second half, but the Buckeyes put up the biggest game with no time left on the clock.

Ohio State

STAT

Rutgers

67

points

66

26-56 (46.4%)

FGM-FGA (PCT.)

28-54 (51.9%)

8-19 (42.1%)

3 pm – 3 pm (PCT)

5-17 (29.4%)

7-12 (58.3)

FTM-FTA (PCT)

5-8 (62.5%)

14

Transformation

13

35

total aid

27

13

Offensive victories

6

22

Defensive victories

21

6

bench points

18

3

blocks

4

6

Steal

7

14

helpers

14

Zed Key and Bryce Sensabaugh, who made his first collegiate start with Isaac Likeleli for the Buckeyes, did the heavy lifting offensively, scoring north of a combined 30 points for Ohio State. Kei had 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Sensabō added 13 of his own.

first half

The Zed Key Show was early. The Buckeye big man scored 13 of Ohio State’s first 24 points and went into halftime with a 15-for-7-for-9 lead. Key also pulled down eight rebounds and had two assists to lead the Buckeyes to a 31-29 lead at the break.

Ohio needed ki energy to stop the early crimson tide. A 9-0 Rutgers run on three consecutive three-pointers gave the Knights an 11-5 lead in the first media timeout while the Buckeyes scored only two of their first seven shots.

But the pause in action was exactly what the Buckeyes needed, as Ohio State responded right out of timeout to embark on a 14-0 run and reclaim the lead. The Buckeyes knocked down 2 of 3-pointers in this stretch, and Key scored six of those points himself—including a one-handed rebound dunk that forced Scarlet Knight into a timeout at 14:06.

Ohio State took a 19-11 lead before Rutgers stopped the bleeding with its fourth triple of the first period with 12:21 to go in the first half. And by 4:06, Brice Sensabaugh’s triple gave Ohio State its first double-digit lead of the night, 31-20.

Rutgers came right back with a run of his own, rattling off the final nine points of the half to head into the locker room with momentum on its side.

The Buckeyes held a 19-12 advantage on the glass, outscored Rutgers 18-12 in the paint and shot nine more free throws than the Scarlet Knights. But while Rutgers hit five of its last seven shots in the other half, Ohio State fell only three of its last 10.

the other half

Rutgers tied the game on their first shot of the second period, and although the Buckeyes hit three of their next four shots after that, the Scarlet Knights scored six straight points – all on quick kicks or down kicks – to take their first lead since early in the game. The first half is at 13:10.

Ohio State stayed one step ahead for the next several minutes, but Rutgers tied the game up again and again as they found success on the inside and began to lead in points in the paint teams.

A backcourt steal by Rutgers forward Aundre Hyatt set up a jumper transmission that gave the Scarlet Knights a two-point lead before a media timeout of just under seven minutes. Judge Swing retook the lead for the Buckeyes with a 3-pointer at the 5:19 mark, but Rutgers big man Clifford Omoruyi turned things around again with a one-dunk just 34 seconds later. Omoruyi only had two points in the first half, but he came back alive to score in double figures in the last 20 minutes.

With less than three minutes left, it’s 59 for both the Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights. But looking at the opportunity to take the lead, Ohio State was whistled due to a moving screen that gave the ball back to Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights proceeded to hit a layup to regain the lead on the next possession.

A key tied things up after that, but Rutgers struck back, only hitting Bruce Thornton on one of two free throws that would have kept him deadlocked with 56 seconds remaining.

One down with just 23.7 seconds remaining, would-be game-winner Sensabaugh was blocked and Rutgers tripled up on a pair of free throws at the other end. But after Rutgers went up by two seconds with five seconds left in the game, Holden’s buzzer ended the show as the home crowd jumped to its feet in celebration.

Game notes

  • Ohio State has won 10 of the previous 14 all-time encounters with Rutgers dating back to 1978.

  • The Scarlet Knights take on last year’s singles game with the Buckeyes, 66-64, in New Jersey on February 9, 2022.

  • At least one of the two programs has been ranked in the AP Top 25 in each of the past four meetings between Ohio State and Rutgers, including Thursday’s contest.

  • Ohio State guard Eugene Brown (concussion) missed his ninth straight game at the start of the year.

  • Starting point guard Isaac Likele missed his first game of the season to attend to a family matter in his home state of Texas.

  • In place of Likekele, freshman Brice Sensabaugh made his first collegiate start alongside Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Justice Sueing, and Zed Key.

  • Rutgers freshman Anton Woolfolk is a Cleveland, Ohio, native, and Caleb McConnell — a Florida native — played high school basketball at Spire Academy in Geneva, Ohio.

  • Chris Holtmann has achieved a 4-1 record in his first five Big Ten opening games as head coach at Ohio State.

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