E.J. Liddell missed two games with what Ohio State described as a non-COVID-19 illness. The Buckeyes lost one of those games. But the 6-foot-7 forward is healthy and back in the lineup now. And he played a major role in OSU overcoming a 16-point second-half deficit Wednesday en route to an eventual 80-68 victory over Rutgers inside Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes outscored Rutgers 48-20 in the final 15 minutes.
They scored 52 points in the second half.
"That was a heckuva win," said Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann, who seems well on his way to a sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. "We had to be really resilient. We put ourselves in a bind — and some of that was [caused by] how well Rutgers was playing. But players win games. And our guys responded."
Liddell took 14 shots against Rutgers, made eight of them and finished with 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in 31 minutes. The sophomore from Illinois is now the Buckeyes' second-leading scorer (15.3. points per game) and second-leading rebounder (6.5 rebounds per game). So he's undeniably important — evidence being how Ohio State is 6-0 with him this season, just 1-1 without him.
The Buckeyes are No. 16 in Thursday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. Ohio State jumping from 20th to 16th pushed Michigan State, Duke and Michigan down one spot each, no fault of their own. OSU's next scheduled game is Saturday at Northwestern, which is 2-0 in the Big Ten after Wednesday's 74-67 upset of Indiana.
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Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Drew Timme finished with 25 points and nine rebounds in Tuesday's 95-78 victory over Northwestern State. The Zags' perfect record also includes wins over Iowa, Kansas and West Virginia.||--||5-1|
|L.J. Cryer finished with 15 points off the bench in Monday's 99-42 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Bears have won five of their six games by at least 30 points.||--||7-0|
|Luka Garza finished with 22 points and nine rebounds in Tuesday's 70-55 victory over Purdue. The Hawkeyes' lone loss is a neutral-court loss to top-ranked Gonzaga.||--||5-2|
|Christian Braun made six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points in Tuesday's 79-65 victory over West Virginia. The Jayhawks' lone loss in a neutral-court loss to top-ranked Gonzaga.||--||7-1|
|Victor Bailey finished with 18 points and three rebounds in Wednesday's 80-60 victory over South Carolina Upstate. The Vols' perfect record also includes a win over Colorado.||--||4-3|
|Collin Gillespie made six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points in Wednesday's 85-68 victory at Marquette. The Wildcats' lone loss is an overtime loss to Virginia Tech.||--||6-3|
|The Mountaineers finished with 11 turnovers and just 10 assists in Tuesday's 79-65 loss at Kansas. West Virginia's only other loss is a single-digit loss to top-ranked Gonzaga.||--||3-4|
|Trey Murphy finished with 15 points and four rebounds in Tuesday's' 76-40 victory over William & Mary. The Cavaliers' lone loss is a single-point loss to San Francisco.||--||7-1|
|Quentin Grimes made four 3-pointers and finished with 22 points in Tuesday's 76-50 victory over Temple. The Cougars' perfect record also includes a double-digit win over Texas Tech.||--||8-0|
|Greg Brown finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds in Sunday's 77-74 victory over Oklahoma State. The Longhorns' lone loss is a single-digit loss to Villanova.||--||6-1|
|Marcus Santos-Silva finished with 18 points and seven rebounds in Tuesday's 69-67 victory at Oklahoma. The Red Raiders' two losses are to Kansas and Houston.||--||5-2|
|Micah Potter finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday's 67-53 victory over Nebraska. The Badgers' lone loss is a final-second loss at Marquette.||--||6-2|
|Jeremiah Tilmon got a game-winning 3-point play in the final seconds and finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday's 54-53 victory over Bradley. The Tigers' perfect record also includes a win over Illinois.||--||6-2|
|Antwann Jones finished with 13 points off the bench in Wednesday's 66-61 victory over Xavier. The Bluejays' two losses are single-digit losses to Kansas and Marquette.||--||6-1|
|Ayo Dosunmu finished with 30 points and six rebounds in Wednesday's 98-81 victory at Penn State. The Illini's resume also includes wins over Duke and Minnesota.||1||5-1|
|Duane Washington made four 3-pointers and finished with 22 points in Wednesday's 80-68 victory over Rutgers. The Buckeyes are 6-0 with E.J. Liddell in the lineup.||4||6-1|
|The Scarlet Knights only grabbed four offensive rebounds in Wednesday's 80-68 loss at Ohio State. Rutgers' resume features wins over Illinois, Maryland and Syracuse.||2||5-1|
|The Spartans missed 23 of the 31 3-pointers they attempted in Sunday's 79-65 loss at Northwestern. Michigan State's next scheduled game is against Wisconsin on Christmas.||1||4-3|
|Matthew Hurt finished with 18 points and five rebounds in Wednesday's 75-65 victory at Notre Dame. The Blue Devils' two losses are both to teams ranked ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.||1||5-2|
|Hunter Dickinson finished with 20 points and seven rebounds in Sunday's 62-58 victory over Penn State. The Wolverines' perfect record also features wins over Toledo and UCF.||1||4-3|
|Javonte Smart finished with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists in Monday's 88-66 victory over Sam Houston State. The Tigers' lone loss is a single-digit loss at Saint Louis.||--||5-3|
|Chris Duarte finished with 21 points and four rebounds in Saturday's 80-41 victory over Portland. Oregon's lone loss is a single-digit loss to Missouri.||--||4-2|
|Moses Moody finished with 21 points and four rebounds in Tuesday's 85-72 victory over Abilene Christian. The Razorbacks have won all of their games by double-digits.||--||5-3|
|McKinley Wright finished with 21 points and seven assists in Tuesday's 74-64 victory over Grand Canyon. The Buffaloes' lone loss is a single-digit loss at Tennessee.||--||5-2|
|The Musketeers missed 24 of the 32 3-pointers they attempted in Wednesday's 65-61 loss at Creighton. Xavier's resume features wins over Oklahoma, Marquette and Cincinnati.||--||4-4|
|David Johnson finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday's 64-54 victory at Pitt. The Cardinals' lone loss is a loss at Wisconsin in which they were missing multiple players.||--||4-3|