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D.J. Carton earns Big Ten honors as Ohio State men’s basketball moves up in AP Poll

Chris Holtmann’s squad is doing big things this season

NCAA Basketball: SE Missouri State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven’t been following Ohio State’s mens basketball team this season, you are missing out big time. The Buckeyes are surging, sitting at 11-1 on the year with their only loss coming on the road to Minnesota without their full squad. Outside the one slip up, they have now knocked off three AP Top 10 teams on the year, including some of college basketball’s blue bloods in No. 10 Villanova (whom they beat by 25), No. 7 UNC (whom they beat by 20 on the road), and most recently a gritty win over No. 6 Kentucky in Vegas.

Ohio State came into the season staring at a daunting non-conference schedule. If they can defeat No. 22 West Virginia on Sunday, they will have not only survived, but thoroughly exceeded expectations by a large margin. As a result of its incredible performance to this point, the Buckeyes have moved all the way up to No. 2 in the latest AP Poll. OSU has not been ranked this high since the 2011-12 season, when the team made its most recent Final Four appearance.

Unlike in previous seasons, when the Bucks relied heavily on Kaleb Wesson on offense, Chris Holtmann has gotten production from all over the court, also featuring a defense that has been one of the most impressive units in the nation. Wesson does still lead the team with 14.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, but he has gotten a ton of help from his supporting cast. One rising star who has rapidly become a huge part of what OSU does on offense is freshman point guard D.J. Carton.

Despite not yet cracking the starting lineup, Carton has been a increasingly present force for the Buckeyes on both ends of the court, and is currently the team’s third-leading scorer with 10.9 points per game. The freshman was money against the Wildcats, putting up 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting with five boards, two assists and two blocks. Carton earned Co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for his clutch performance, sharing the award with Indiana’s Armaan Franklin.

Ohio State has looked so good on both ends of the floor to this point, spreading the ball around and playing unselfishly on offense with a full team commitment to locking down on the defensive end. With five different teams losing already this season after being ranked No. 1, this years NCAA Tournament looks to be one of the most wide open we’ve seen in years. If Holtmann can keep his guys focused all year long, this Buckeye squad certainly looks like one that could compete for a national title.

They will look close out the non-conference schedule with a bang when they take on the Mountaineers on Sunday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. Tipoff is set for 12:00 p.m. ET on FS1.

One of Ohio State’s senior captains, safety Jordan Fuller, will be extending his college career just a bit as he has accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Bowl, per the game’s official Twitter account. The postseason game, which has taken place his 1925, benefits Shrines Hospitals for Children, with a mission to provide advanced care to children with all sorts of ailments regardless of the families’ ability to pay for services.

The longest running college football all-star game in the nation, the selection of about 100 players is made based on participating players’ potential to make NFL rosters, with the decision based on the consensus opinion of all 32 NFL teams. The contest will take place on Jan. 18, broadcast on NFL Network at 3 p.m. ET.

Fuller has been one of Ohio State’s finest players both on and off the field. A finalist for the LOTT Impact Award for academics and on-field play, Fuller has racked up 57 tackles (good for third-best on the team) with four PBUs and a pair of interceptions. He has been phenomenal all year long as the team’s lone high safety, and will look to improve his draft stock with — hopefully — two College Football Playoff games in addition to the Shrine Bowl.

Offensive lineman Branden Bowen has also accepted an invitation to join Fuller in the postseason contest, while Damon Arnette, DaVon Hamilton, Malik Harrison and Jonah Jackson all accepting invitations to the Senior Bowl, which will take place on Jan. 25.

Ohio State’s men’s volleyball team cleaned up on some 10-year awards on Monday.

After announcing his retirement following a 35-year run with the Buckeyes, head coach Pete Hanson was named Coach of the Decade by a national voting committee assembled by Off The Block. Hanson received 37 votes — more than all other coaches combined. After leading Ohio State to its first NCAA championship in 2011, Hanson would go on to win back-to-back NCAA titles in 2016 and 2017. He finished his career as the winningest coach in program history, finishing with 700 career victories.

Ohio State’s team itself also won the Program of the Decade distinction. Since 2010, the Buckeyes have had seven seasons of at least 20 wins and an overall record of 216-85, including a 42-match win streak spanning from 2016-2017 that featured a sweep of BYU in the 2016 NCAA Tournament finals. An OSU player has won MIVA Player of the Year six times over the decade.

It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Ohio State athletics in the news today, as former OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskins suffered an ankle injury against the New York Giants on Sunday. The Washington Redskins starting QB was having one of the best games of his young NFL career, completing 12-of-15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns before his untimely exit.

With little help from his much maligned organization, Haskins has had a bit of a rocky start to his NFL career. Bouncing between a backup and starting role before earning the full-time job, the first-year pro has played in nine games for Washington this season, completing 119-of-203 passes for 1,365 yards with seven TDs and seven INTs. He has looked significantly better with each passing week since becoming the team’s official No. 1 guy, so this injury really came at the worst possible time for the improving signal-caller.

If it is in fact a high-ankle sprain for Haskins, it is unlikely he will be able to go in the team’s season finale against the Dallas Cowboys this upcoming weekend. Two guys on his latest opponent’s roster both experienced high-ankle sprains at points this year, with Giants QB Daniel Jones most recently missing two weeks with the same injury and RB Saquon Barkley missing four.

We will have to wait and see what the official word is, but we obviously wish the best for Haskins and are hoping for a speedy recovery.

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