By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Value City Arena (19,049) -- Columbus, Ohio.
Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: SSU 4-2, OSU 4-0. Away Record: SSU
1-2, OSU 0-1. Neutral Record: SSU 0-0, OSU 2-0. Conference Record: SSU 0-0,
OSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The seventh-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes continue their season-long,
eight-game homestand on Wednesday night when they entertain the Savannah State
Savannah State has hovered around .500 for much of the first month of the
season, as it has yet to win or lose three consecutive games. The Tigers
recently wrapped up a three-game homestand with wins over Western Illinois
(39-38) and Robert Morris (61-52), and a loss versus Norfolk State (55-45).
They will now play their next five games on the road.
Ohio State's only loss this season has come on the road against second-ranked
Duke (73-68), which caused it to take a small dive in the polls from No. 4 to
No. 7. The Buckeyes bounced back nicely since that difficult defeat however,
winning back-to-back games over Northern Kentucky (70-43) and Long Beach State
(89-55) to move to 6-1.
This tilt marks the inaugural matchup between these two programs in men's
The Tigers have been very inconsistent at the offensive end of the floor,
making just 40.1 percent of their field goal attempts for 54.1 ppg, but they
have been able to win more games than they've lost thanks to a stellar scoring
yield (53.0 ppg) and a solid effort on the glass (plus-7.0 rebounding margin).
Holding Norfolk State to 55 points in their latest game wasn't enough however,
as they committed more turnovers (19) than made field goals (18) in the 10-
point defeat. Stephen Wilson led Savannah State with 13 points, while Preston
Blackman scored 12 -- although the two combined to shoot just 9-of-24 from the
field. Arnold Louis came off the bench and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. On
the season, Rashad Hassan is the team's leading scorer with 13.2 ppg on 58.1
percent shooting, while Blackman puts up 11.0 ppg with much lower field goal
efficiency (.373). Jyles Smith has scored a total of only 15 points through
nine games (1.7 ppg), but he is a physical presence in the frontcourt with 6.3
caroms and 3.3 blocks per contest.
Ohio State has played exceptionally well at both ends of the court as it ranks
in the top-15 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (plus-1.6), fewest
turnovers per game (9.3), scoring margin (plus-20.9), and field goal
percentage defense (.362). The dominance continued in the 34-point win over
Long Beach State last Saturday, as the Buckeyes made 47 percent of their field
goal attempts and easily won the rebounding battle, 49-33. Pacing four players
in double figures was Deshaun Thomas with 18 points, and his 20.6 ppg ranks
17th in the country. The junior forward also paces the squad in rebounding
(6.1 pg) and sports outstanding percentages from beyond the arc (.429) and the
foul line (.880). LaQuinton Ross came off the bench to tally 16 points, nine
rebounds, and four assists in the victory, Lenzelle Smith, Jr. had 14 points
and nine boards, and Sam Thompson added 13 points. Smith, Jr. (11.0 ppg), Ross
(10.3 ppg), and Aaron Craft (11.0 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers for
Ohio State, with Craft adding 4.1 apg and 1.6 spg for good measure.
By limiting their mistakes, the Buckeyes have proven to be one of the most
dangerous teams in the nation, especially at home. They should have little
problem dismissing the Tigers in this one, as they should put this one away by
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 78, Savannah State 47