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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, February 03, 2019 1:00 am

Big Ten

Buckeyes too strong for Rutgers

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The month of January had been unkind for Ohio State and its sophomore center Kaleb Wesson.

The Buckeyes were a woeful 1-6 in January with the typically reliable Wesson averaging just over 11 points and six rebounds in those games.

But Wesson and the Buckeyes got February off to a strong start on Saturday. He had 21 of his game-high 27 points in the first half as Ohio State defeated Rutgers 76-62.

“This was a complete game for us in a lot of ways,” said Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann, whose team shot 53 percent from the floor and only had six turnovers. “I was really proud of our older guys. Now, when I'm talking about our older guys, I'm also talking about our sophomores. Shot-making can cover up some things. We made 13 3s and our guys were taking great shots.

“Obviously, Kaleb gave us a great lift offensively. He took what the defense gave him. He was on a roll there. A lot of that was within the flow of the offense.”

C.J. Jackson added 20 points and seven rebounds for the Buckeyes (14-7, 4-6 Big Ten).

Luther Muhammad scored 12 points and Keyshawn Woods added 11.

Eugene Omoruyi had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead Rutgers (11-10, 4-7). Caleb McConnell chipped in 14 points.

Wesson made back-to-back 3-pointers as well as a baseline jumper during an 11-0 Ohio State run that put the Buckeyes up 15-8 with 12:15 left in the first half.

ILLINOIS 71, NEBRASKA 64: In Champaign, Illinois, Kipper Nichols scored 18 points, and Ayo Dosunmu added 13 as the Illini handed the Cornhuskers their fifth straight defeat. Trent Frazier scored 11 points for Illinois (7-15, 3-8 Big Ten). James Palmer Jr. scored a game-high 22 points for Nebraska (13-9, 3-8). 

“I think far and away, from a defensive standpoint, this was our best game of the year,” Illinois coach Bruce Underwood said. “It was fun to watch.”

The Huskers hit 25 of 70 shots for 36 percent, compared with Illinois' 27 of 56 shooting for 48 percent.