Piscataway, N.J. — Ohio State opened up the season without much expectation. So, making the Top 25 and leading the Big Ten surely wasn’t anticipated.
Now, when the new weekly rankings come out, the Buckeyes will likely have both.
“We had talked about it a little bit,” first-year coach Chris Holtmann said. “We talked about it a little bit when we beat (No.4) Michigan State because I think that alerted people.”
Keita Bates-Diop scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and Ohio State beat Rutgers 68-46 to remain undefeated in Big Ten play this season and tied atop the conference standings.
Ohio State (15-4, 6-0) built up a 30-point lead after Kam Williams converted on a 4-point play with 13:47 remaining to make it 48-18.
Kaleb Wesson had 10 points and nine rebounds and Williams finished with 11 points for Ohio State
Rutgers led 9-8 after Eugene Omoruyi made a layup at the 10:46 mark. Ohio State closed the half on a 19-6 run to take the 28-15 lead into half.
Rutgers was led by guards Geo Baker (14 points) and Corey Sanders (13 points).
However, Rutgers was without its third guard and sixth-man, Mike William. The senior captain was sidelined after injuring his leg in practice on Saturday. He sat the game out with his right foot wrapped and was using crutches.
“Mike hurt his leg badly. We don’t have the full diagnosis yet, they’re still working on that,” coach Steve Pikiell said. “He’s going to be out, he’s going to be out for a while. But Mike has been a really important player.I feel bad for him. It’s his senior year, but those things happen and other guys have to be ready to step up and take advantage of his minutes. We certainly have to figure that out quickly here. Having this happen with 10 minutes left in practice yesterday doesn’t give you a lot of time to figure it out, so now we have a couple of days to figure it out before Iowa.”
So while Rutgers’ season could be at a crossroads, Ohio State’s could continue to surprise.
“I keep coming back to the fact that we’ve only played one third of the Big Ten right now, so there’s a lot left to be played,” Holtmann said. “But we will talk about the fact that hey, we’re going to have some people - we’re going to have to play with a different edge. Home, road, doesn’t matter. We’ll see if we’re good enough to manage that.”
More Big Ten
(At) Indiana 66, Northwestern 46: Robert Johnson scored 17 points and Juwan Morgan scored all eight of his points in the second half for Indiana (11-7, 4-2), which took advantage of an 18-0 spurt in the second half to win its third straight.
Vic Law and Isiah Brown each had nine points to lead the Wildcats (11-8, 2-4), who have lost three of four.
And this loss might have been the worst yet.
Northwestern shot 26.8 percent from the field, barely avoiding a season low, and was outplayed in virtually every facet.
The Hoosiers, meanwhile, fought through the loss of Morgan to foul trouble for almost the entire first half. When he returned in the second half, it didn’t take the Hoosiers long to start pulling away.
Indiana quickly extended a 24-19 halftime lead to nine before following the lead of Morgan and Johnson, who combined for the first 12 points in the big run that turned a 33-26 contest into a 53-26 blowout.
Northwestern never challenged again.
(At) No. 3 Virginia 68, North Carolina State 51: Devon Hall scored a career-best 25 and Virginia pushed its winning streak to eight. Kyle Guy added 17 points for the Cavaliers (16-1, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia has won 11 straight regular-season meetings against the Wolfpack.
Torin Dorn scored 16 to lead N.C. State (12-6, 2-3), which arrived with a 3-0 record against ranked teams.
The Wolfpack has beaten the No. 2 team twice — Arizona on Nov. 22 and Duke on Jan. 6 — and was coming off a 78-77 victory against No. 19 Clemson.