Liam Robbins, not Marcus Carr, leads Minnesota to blowout win against Ohio State

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra

MINNEAPOLIS – Physically, Liam Robbins looks nothing like Marcus Carr. Robbins, a 7-foot freshman, towers over the 6-2 junior guard.

The two Minnesota players have at least one thing in common, though: they like playing Ohio State.

Notebook: E.J. Liddell takes blame for Ohio State loss

Last year, Minnesota denied Ohio State a chance at ascending to No. 1 in the national polls by handing the Buckeyes their first loss of the season behind a 35-point explosion from Carr. Sunday afternoon, Robbins followed suit with a dominating effort that led No. 21 Minnesota (10-2, 3-2 Big Ten) past No. 25 Ohio State (8-3, 2-3), 77-60, inside an empty Williams Arena.

Robbins posted his first double-double of the season: 27 points and 14 rebounds to go along with five blocks and four assists.

The Buckeyes led for less than a minute during the first half, trailed by six at the half and were within 56-48 when a three-pointer from Carr – who else? – started an 11-2 run near the midpoint of the second half that broke the game wide open.

From there, the final outcome was secure as Ohio State trailed by double figures for the final 10:25. Ohio State shot 25.0% during the second half and, after hitting half of its 10 three-point attempts before halftime, went 2 for 17 (11.8%) during the second half.

Minnesota's Liam Robbins (0) shoots as Ohio State's E.J. Liddell (32) defends in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Minneapolis.

Carr, who averaged 28.0 points in two wins against the Buckeyes last season, finished with 15 on 3-of-12 shooting as CJ Walker primarily guarded him.

Ohio State has now lost three straight games at The Barn and nine straight true road games against ranked Big Ten teams dating back to a Feb. 7, 2018 win at No. 3 Purdue during coach Chris Holtmann’s first season.

With Robbins controlling the paint at both ends, the Buckeyes found no real offense save for Duane Washington Jr., who finished with a team-high 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting. E.J. Liddell added 10 as the only other Ohio State played in double figures.

It was hard to imagine a worse start for the Buckeyes, who spotted the Gophers the first seven points of the game and trailed 16-5 after allowing Minnesota to score on its first seven possessions of the game. In building that 11-point lead, the Gophers had taken 11 shots and allowed the Buckeyes only four.

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has a word with one of his players in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Minnesota, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Minneapolis.

It was enough to lead coach Chris Holtmann to call timeout with the deficit at 14-5 and deliver a red-faced tirade while removing Washington Jr. and Justice Sueing from the game.

Washington would return shortly, and his shooting would help pull the Buckeyes back into the game. The junior would score eight of the next 12 Ohio State points as the visitors pulled even at 17, and his no-look pass to a streaking E.J. Liddell led to a two-handed dunk that gave Ohio State a 28-27 lead with 5:54 to play.

It would be short-lived, however, as Liam Robbins scored on the left block as Minnesota called timeout at 5:35. During the timeout, the Ohio State bench was hit with a technical foul, and Carr hit both free throws for a four-point possession and a 31-28 Minnesota lead.

Ohio State trailed, 43-37, at the half after allowing the Golden Gophers to shoot 51.7% (15 for 29) from the floor. Robbins already had 16 points, five rebounds, four blocks and three assists, while Washington led the Buckeyes with 13 points.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy