Six blocked shots from EJ Liddell and a pair of Meechie Johnson Jr. triples helped to keep Ohio State close, but Xavier out-muscled the Buckeyes in the first 20 minutes and took a 35-26 lead into the halftime break.

The Musketeers (2-0) were unafraid of the nation’s 19th-ranked team and bodied up Ohio State in the first half. They controlled the rebounding battle 22-16 and relentlessly attacked the paint. Even with Liddell’s swats, the Musketeers put up 22 of their 35 first-half points from inside the paint.

Their 3s weren’t dropping—just 3-for-12 from beyond the arc—but they did well to press and run off Ohio State mistakes.

The Buckeyes had 22 turnovers in their last 2 games but committed 9 in just the first half Thursday night. To make matters worse, Liddell, who scored 4 points and grabbed 3 boards to go with all those blocked shots, picked up a pair of first-half fouls.

Johnson was the high man for Ohio State in the points column. He had 9 points (3-5 FG, 2-2 3P) and an assist. Guard Malaki Branham added 7 points, though he took 7 shots to get there. Liddell and forward Zed Key were the only other Buckeyes to make a shot from the field. Ohio State shot just 33% from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

You can catch the second half on FS1. First-half highlights are below.

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