PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Geo Baker had 25 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 18.8 seconds left, and Rutgers scored the final 10 to stun No. 16 Ohio State 66-64 on Wednesday night.
Baker scored eight of the 10 points in the game-ending spurt and assisted on a dunk by Cliff Omoruyi that tied it 64-all with 1:13 to play.
Omoruyi added 13 points and Paul Mulcahy had 12 as the Scarlet Knights (14-9, 8-5 Big Ten) earned consecutive wins over ranked teams for the first time since January 2008. They thumped Michigan State 84-63 last week and are 12-2 at Jersey Mike’s Arena.
Malaki Branham scored 19 points and E.J. Liddell added 16 for Ohio State (14-6, 7-4). Zed Key had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Rutgers’ defense did not allow the Buckeyes to score in the final 3:48 and their last two shots were blocked. Ron Harper Jr. blocked a layup attempt by Branham with 3.6 seconds to go, and a shot from the corner by Justin Arhens was partially blocked and never got near the rim. Ohio State missed its last seven shots.
Rutgers’ chances appeared dim when Key hit two free throws with 3:48 to play to give Ohio State a 64-56 lead, its biggest of the game.
Baker then took over. He made two free throws with 3:07 to go and a layup with 2:33 left after the Buckeyes missed two shots.
The biggest sequence of the game came on the ensuing inbounds play. Key broke free after taking a length-of-the-court pass but Caleb McConnell caught him from behind and blocked the shot, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy. Rutgers recovered the ball and Baker hit a step-back jumper with 2:03 left to cut the deficit to two.
After a shot-clock violation, Omoruyi tied the game and Baker was fouled on the possession following Branham’s miss, putting Rutgers ahead.
Neither team led by more than four in a physical first half in which the officials called just a dozen fouls. The Scarlet Knights took a 32-31 lead on a shot in the lane by Aundre Hyatt just before the buzzer.
Ohio State: Not a good loss, but Rutgers’ victims at home also included Purdue when it was ranked No. 1 this season.
Rutgers: Slowly working its way back into NCAA Tournament contention. The Scarlet Knights just don’t win on the road.
Ohio State: Finishes a two-game road trip at Michigan on Saturday.
Rutgers: Plays at No. 14 Wisconsin on Saturday for its third of six straight games against ranked opponents.