Lamar (8-3) at (2) Ohio State (10-1)
Tuesday, December 20th, 8:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Value City Arena (19,049) -- Columbus, Ohio. Television: BTN. Home Record: Lamar 5-0, Ohio St. 9-0. Away Record: Lamar 3-3, Ohio St. 1-1. Neutral Record: Lamar 0-0, Ohio St. 0-0. Conference Record: Lamar 0-0, Ohio St. 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: On a night to honor former student athlete and Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight for his lifetime achievements and contributions to college basketball, the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will play host to the Lamar Cardinals in non-conference action at Value City Arena.
Thad Matta's Buckeyes are an impressive 10-1 on the season. The lone loss came on the road at Kansas and without All-American Jared Sullinger on the floor. Since then the team has posted back-to-back win, including a 74-66 victory at South Carolina this past weekend.
Lamar picked up its 900th victory in school history with last weekend's 87-81 victory at Rice. The Cardinals are 8-3 on the season and bring a four-game win streak into Columbus.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
The Cardinals earned their 900th win thanks in large part to a huge performance by Mike James. The 6-1 senior hit 9-of-15 from the floor, including a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range, en route to a career-high 26 points. Anthony Miles poured in 19 points on the strength of a 15-of-18 showing from the free-throw line, while Devon Lamb posted a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Cardinals are averaging a decent 74.1 ppg this year, despite shooting a meager .408 from the floor. Four of the team's five starters are averaging double figures, led by Miles' 16.1 ppg. James is next in line at 13.9 ppg, followed by Charlie Harper and Lamb, who net 11.5 and 11.1 ppg, respectively.
The Buckeyes won their first road game on the season, as they topped South Carolina in Columbia on the strength of Deshaun Thomas' career-high 30 points. The performance was needed as Sullinger played just six minutes of the game after suffering a bone bruise in his foot. William Buford added 17 points in the win, while grabbing five rebounds and doling out five assists. Ohio State took control in the second half after shooting 55.6 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes to post the eight-point win over the Gamecocks. The Buckeyes are obviously one of the nation's premier teams, but are that much more potent with Sullinger on the floor. The 6-9 sophomore is a monster down low, 16.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Buford and Thomas give the team plenty of balance, at 16.4 and 15.9 ppg, respectively. Ohio State has dominated at both ends this season and enjoys an impressive +23.2 scoring margin as a result.
Sullinger is questionable for this contest and although Lamar has gotten off to a good start, expect the Buckeyes to continue their dominance at home whether or not their star forward plays or not.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 76, Lamar 58
12/20 10:40:44 ET