Columbus, Ohio — Rutgers and Ohio State are prime examples of how difficult it is on win on the road in the Big Ten this year.
Rutgers, 1-4 on the road in conference games coming into the Wednesday night contest against Ohio State, climbed back from a 20-point deficit early in the second half but faltered down the stretch and fell to the Buckeyes 72-66.
Ohio State (16-7, 6-7 Big Ten) has been a different team at Value City but nearly let it get away late.
“They’re not going to look pretty, but a win is a win in the (Big) 10,” said Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson, who had 16 points, while his older brother Andre added 13 to go along with 10 rebounds.
Ohio State led by 15 at the half and went up by 20 on an E.J. Liddell basket with 13:05 left in the game. The Scarlet Knights chipped away, with Geo Baker hitting a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to get them within 3 points. But they ran out of time, with Andre Wesson hitting a foul shot and then CJ Walker hitting a pair with 12 seconds left to put it away.
Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr. each added 10 points as the Buckeyes, who were ranked as high as No. 2 in the AP poll before tanking last month, bounced back from a loss at Wisconsin on Sunday and has now won three of the last four.
Jacob Young had 17 and Baker 13 for Rutgers (17-8, 8-6), which is having its best season in years under coach Steve Pikiell but, like Ohio State, has been inconsistent and taken its lumps on the road. The team’s top three scorers came off the bench in this one.
“I thought Ohio State was the more physical basketball team,” Pikiell said. “You can’t spot a team that’s well-coached and has good players 15 points at halftime. So we got down 20, we fought back there good. Give them a lot of credit. You have to play 40 minutes in this league.”
Ohio State led 45-30 at the intermission on the strength of a couple of late 3-pointers, from Andre Wesson and Justin Ahrens, who was 3 for 4 from beyond the arc in the half coming off the bench.
“Sometimes you’ve got to survive games like this,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “You’ve got to make just enough plays, and we did that. And it’s a credit to the guys.”
No. 3 Kansas 58, (at) No. 14 West Virginia 49: Devon Dotson scored 15 points and No. 3 Kansas finished the game with a 9-0 run to beat No. 14 West Virginia 58-49 on Wednesday night.
The Jayhawks (21-3, 10-1 Big 12) won for the ninth straight time and remain a game behind first-place Baylor.
Isaiah Moss had seven of his 13 points after halftime for Kansas.
West Virginia (18-6, 6-5) fell flat after leading by as many as nine points in each half and lost at home for the first time this season.
Freshman Oscar Tshiebwe led the Mountaineers with 14 points and nine rebounds, but he had just two points after halftime. Jordan McCabe tied a season high with 10 points.
(At) Georgia Tech 64, No. 5 Louisville 58: Moses Wright made a huge block at one end, then powered inside for a basket that helped Georgia Tech snap Louisville’s 10-game winning streak.
Louisville (21-4, 12-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost for the first time since early January with a truly dreadful offensive performance against the Yellow Jackets (12-13, 6-8).
The Cardinals never led, hitting just 19 of 56 shots (33.9%) from the field – including 3 of 24 beyond the 3-point arc.
Jordan Nwora, the ACC’s leading scorer at 19.5 points per game, was held to a season-low two points.
Jose Alvarado led Georgia Tech with 18 points. Malik Williams scored 16 points for Louisville.
No. 23 Creighton 87, (at) No. 10 Seton Hall 82: Damien Jefferson, Ty-Shon Alexander, Marcus Zegarowski and Denzel Mahoney all scored 18 points and No. 23 Creighton beat Seton Hall for its second road win over a Top 10 team this month.
Christian Bishop added 11 points as the Bluejays (19-6, 8-4 Big East) won for the sixth time in seven games, including a win at No. 8 Villanova at the start of the month.
Quincy McKnight had 20 points to lead Seton Hall (18-6, 10-2), which lost for the second time in 14 games. Sandro Mamukelashvili and Romaro Gill added 13 points apiece for the Pirates.
The key to Creighton’s win was the defensive job it did on Preseason All America Myles Powell. The senior guard finished with 12 points on 3-of-16 shooting.
(At) No. 11 Auburn 95, Alabama 91, OT: Austin Wiley had 18 points, a career-high 17 rebounds and five blocked shots and Auburn beat rival Alabama in the Tigers’ latest foray into overtime.
The Tigers (22-2, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) picked up their fourth overtime win of the last five games. This time they scored the first eight points of overtime and held on for redemption from an earlier 19-point loss to the Crimson Tide (13-11, 5-6).
Alabama rallied from big deficits in both halves with an SEC-record night of 3-point shooting.
Led by Jaden Shackelford’s 28 points, the Tide set league marks with 22 3-pointers and 59 attempts (37.3%). The attempts were the most by a major conference team all-time, according to STATS.
Isaac Okoro had 19 points and nine rebounds for Auburn before being helped off the court clutching his upper right leg late in regulation.
(At) No. 15 Villanova No. 18 Marquette 71: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Villanova held on to beat Marquette and snap a three-game skid.
Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels added 14 points apiece for Villanova (18-6, 8-4 Big East). The Wildcats had surrendered an average of 75 points in defeats to Creighton, Butler and Seton Hall. Villanova, which pulled into a second-place tie with Creighton in the Big East, avoided losing four in a row for the first time since Feb. 15-25, 2012.
Markus Howard scored 24 points for Marquette (17-7, 7-5), which had won three straight and six of seven. Howard, the country’s leading scorer who entered averaging 27.4 points per game, became the Big East’s all-time leading scorer in league games with 1,408 points.
(At) Butler 66, Xavier 61: Sean McDermott scored 14 points to lead Butler past Xavier.
Kamar Baldwin added 11 points and Jordan Tucker scored 10 for the Bulldogs (19-6, 7-5 Big East).
Naji Marshall scored 20 points to lead the Musketeers (16-9, 5-7). Tyrique Jones had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Xavier, his 17th double-double.
No. 20 Houston 62, (at) South Florida 58: Quentin Grimes scored nine of his 22 points in the final 3:28, helping Houston hold off South Florida.
Grimes made six straight free throws and also sank a 3-pointer that gave the Cougars (20-5, 10-2) some breathing room down the stretch in the matchup between the top two defensive teams in the American Athletic Conference.
Fabian White Jr. scored 10 points for first-place Houston, which led 45-34 before USF rallied to within 53-51. Grimes put the game away with help from DeJon Jarreau, whose layup made it 58-53 with 21 seconds to go.
Laquincy Rideau led USF (11-13, 4-7) with 21 points.
Eastern Michigan 70 (at) Bowling Green 58: Jenna Annecchiarico scored 22 and Areanna Combs 20 for Eastern (12-11, 7-5 MAC). Bowling Green is 8-15 and 1-10.
(At) Western Michigan 74, Buffalo 62: Jordan Walker scored 19 and Reilly Jacobson 15 for Western (12-10, 5-6 MAC). Buffalo is 13-9 and 4-7.