Jackson St.-Ohio St. Preview
Thad Matta’s young Ohio State team survived its first test the
last time it took the court, rallying from an early deficit to
defeat a top 10 opponent.
It likely won’t receive such a challenge against Jackson
In the first meeting between the programs, Matta’s No. 3
Buckeyes look to become the third ranked team of the season to hand
the Tigers a lopsided loss Friday night at Value City Arena.
Matta had the feeling his team, which has just one senior and
one junior, was going to have its hands full Tuesday against
seventh-ranked Florida. The Buckeyes, who have two starters
returning from last season’s 34-win team, fell behind 11-4 in the
first five minutes before rallying for an 81-74 victory.
“I didn’t know how we were going to play,” Matta said. “But I
thought we played with good composure. They knocked us early by
making shots and our guys did a nice job of continuing to play and
weathering the storm.”
William Buford, the lone senior, led the way with 21 points and
six rebounds, while preseason All-American Jared Sullinger finished
with 16 points and six boards. Ohio State (2-0) did a solid job of
protecting the ball, turning it over seven times while forcing 16
“As young as we are, we’ve only played two games,” Sullinger
said. “We’re only going to get better and so are they. It’s just a
Jackson State (0-3) also faced the Gators, and it didn’t go
The Tigers opened their season last Friday with a 99-59 loss to
Florida, shooting 34.0 percent and turning the ball over 24
Jackson State followed with a 92-59 loss to then-No. 12 Baylor
on Sunday to fall to 0-26 against ranked opponents since 1996. The
Tigers have been outscored by an average of 38.0 points in losing
their three games against top 10 teams.
Jackson State would figure to have a bit better luck against
Wright State on Wednesday, but instead put together its worst
performance of the season.
The Tigers shot 26.2 percent, missed 12 of 14 3-pointers and
turned the ball over 21 times in a 56-39 loss. Senior Jenirro Bush,
the team’s leading scorer at 14.7 points per game, was the only
player in double figures for Jackson State with 15.
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, had no such trouble against Wright
State in their opener, winning 73-42 last Friday. Sullinger had 19
points and nine rebounds, while Buford had 13 points and four
While Matta has relied heavily on Sullinger and Buford,
sophomore Aaron Craft has also made big contributions in starting
the first two games. He has combined for 23 points, 10 assists, six
rebounds and six steals.
This will be the third of eight straight home games for Ohio
State, which doesn’t take to the road until visiting No. 12 Kansas
on Dec. 10.
The Buckeyes have won 24 straight home games since a 60-57 loss
to then-No. 4 Purdue on Feb. 17, 2010. They’ve also won 23
consecutive games at Value City Arena against non-conference
opponents since falling 76-48 to West Virginia on Dec. 27,
Jackson State is 1-35 in non-conference road games since