Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell has head coach Chris Holtmann’s back — or so it seems. Before the Buckeyes took the court on Sunday vs. Northwestern, news broke that Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon would not be available because of health and safety protocols.
No head coach, no problem.
With assistant Jake Diebler acting as head coach, Lidell came out on fire, hitting his first five 3-pointers and scoring 21-points before the end of the first half. It was a barrage that Northwestern simply couldn’t keep up with and the Buckeyes hit the locker room up 51-39 after the first twenty minutes.
The second half didn’t show OSU shooting at the nearly 67% clip it did in the first half, but the Buckeyes had an answer every time a very game and competitive Northwestern team made a run. The Wildcats got as close as four points midway through the second half, but Ohio State continued to do enough on the offensive end and at the free-throw line to salt away victory and win 95-87.
Liddell finished the game with a ridiculous stat line. He poured in a career-high 34 points on 12-of-20 shooting, grabbed four rebounds, five blocks, and two assists. Malaki Branham continued showing that he’s started to figure things out with 24 points of his own.
With the win, Ohio State improves to 10-3 overall, and 3-1 in the conference. The Buckeyes next take on a ranked Wisconsin team on the road Thursday.