The Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball team was able to hang with No. 16 Ohio State on Thursday night but a dominating performance by E.J. Liddell helped the Buckeyes leave with a 75-64 victory.
Playing without guard Jamari Wheeler (foot), the Buckeyes were ripe for an upset at The Barn. But the Gophers got off to a slow start as Peyton Willis and Jamison Battle struggled early.
That opened the door for Luke Loewe to step up. After scoring 19 points in Saturday's win against Rutgers, Loewe put up 11 points on Thursday night.
With Treyton Thompson adding five points and four rebounds off the bench, the Gophers went into halftime down 32-30. But that's when the Buckeyes turned to their advantage in the paint.
Even without a two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year, Liddell was able to bully the Gophers on the glass. With 23 points and 15 rebounds, Liddell helped. the Buckeyes own a 20-6 advantage in offensive rebounds and a 48-22 advantage overall.
The disparity allowed Ohio State to suffocate the Gophers and come away with their first win at The Barn since 2015.
Minnesota (11-6, 2-6 Big Ten) will play the second of three straight games against ranked opponents when they travel to Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon.