After Saturday’s loss in Chicago to North Carolina, Ohio State will try and return to the winning column tonight at Value City Arena when they take on Miami (Ohio). This marks the eighth meeting between the schools, with Ohio State holding a 5-2 edge in the series. The two teams haven’t met since December 2011 when the Buckeyes easily handled the RedHawks 69-40 in Columbus.
Much like their game last month in Louisville, the Buckeyes struggled for most of the game, falling behind by 12 points at halftime, and by as many as 18 in the second half, before mounting a late comeback that fell short. Ohio State used a 10-2 run to cut the lead to eight points but weren’t able to get much closer, even though North Carolina gave the Buckeyes every opportunity to shave even more off the deficit.
While most of the Buckeyes struggled against the Tar Heels, there were a couple bright spots for Thad Matta’s team. Marc Loving hit five three-pointers on his way to 19 points, while Chicago native Sam Thompson returned home and added 17 points. Freshman D’Angelo Russell struggled from the field, only hitting four of the 17 shots he took on his way to 11 points, but helped out in other ways, grabbing eight rebounds in the loss.
While Ohio State has struggled in the two games they have played this year against ranked teams, they should have an easier time when they tipoff against the RedHawks. Miami (Ohio) has had a rough go of it so far this season, slumping to a 3-7 record. The RedHawks have only registered wins against Southern Utah, Liberty, and in their most recent game against Longwood. Some of the notable losses the RedHawks have suffered have come at the hands of Northwestern, Virginia Tech, and Dayton. The RedHawks have shown some fight in losses though, with only one loss coming by more than 15 points.
RedHawks coach John Cooper (no, not that John Cooper) is in his third season in Oxford, and is trying to turn around a team that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2007. Cooper has slowly made progress, going 13-18 last year after posting a 9-22 record in his first season. The results this year haven’t been encouraging, especially considering the RedHawks sport a roster that consists of a senior and eight juniors. Cooper did gain a big transfer when Michigan State’s Kenny Kaminski announced he would be headed to Oxford, but per NCAA transfer rules Kaminski won’t be eligible to take the court for the RedHawks until next season.
Numbers to know
The combination of Shannon Scott and D'Angelo Russell is the top assist combination in the country. Scott is second in the country averaging 7.9 assists per game, which ranks second in the country, while Russell is averaging 5.2 assists per game in his freshman season. The next closest combination in terms of assists sits at 10.5 assists per game.
While Ohio State had issues on the glass against North Carolina, they shouldn’t have as big of a problem against the Miami (Ohio). Chris Bryant is the leading rebounder for the RedHawks, and is only averaging 3.9 rebounds per game on the season.
In each of the first 10 years at the helm for Ohio State, Thad Matta’s teams have registered at least 10 wins against non-conference opponents. With a win tonight against the RedHawks, Matta will run that streak to 11 straight seasons with at least 10 wins against their non-conference opponents. Overall during his tenure at Ohio State, Matta has accumulated 141 wins against non-conference opponents.
Cast of characters
Russell may have had his struggles against North Carolina on Saturday, but he is still one of the most exciting true freshmen in the country. Currently Russell is ranked second nationally in PAR (Points-Assists-Rebounds), posting 27.3 per game. The RedHawks could be in for a long night if the last time Russell had an off-game is any indication. After struggling early in the year against Marquette, Russell proceeded to drop 32 points on Holy Cross in his next outing.
The sophomore from Toledo is starting to find a rhythm and is becoming one of the more reliable scorers for the Buckeyes. For the season Loving is shooting 57% from the field and 56% from three-point range. His 19 points on Saturday against North Carolina raised his season average to 11.3 points per game. In four of the last six games Loving has hit double figures in scoring,
In addition to being the leading scorer for the RedHawks on the season, averaging 13.1 points per game, Washington is also the facilitator of the offense. Washington is averaging 5.2 assists per game this season, and has dished out five assists or more in six of the 10 games for the RedHawks this year. The one downfall of Washington's play is that he is turnover prone, as he is averaging 3.6 turnovers per game this year.
The junior tied a couple career-highs on Wednesday night against Longwood when he put in 19 points and registered five steals in the victory.The guard from Middletown, Ohio is averaging 10.8 points per game through 10 games this season for the RedHawks.
How to Watch/Stream:
TV: 6:00 p.m., BTN (Channel 1333 on Time Warner Columbus/Delaware)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan