With the sting of only their second loss of the season still fresh, the 10th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes hope to make amends as they welcome the Cougars of Chicago State to Value City Arena this Saturday.
Chicago State, which calls the Great West Conference home, has had a rough go of it early in the 2012-13 campaign, dropping 11 of its first 14 games. The Cougars are currently mired in a three-game losing streak, with their most recent setback coming last Saturday in a 79-57 shellacking at Houston. This game is the fourth in a seven-game road trip, which culminates with the conference opener at NJIT on Jan. 12.
Ohio State fell at home to Kansas last Saturday, 74-66, snapping the team's five-game winning streak. The only other defeat came against another big-time program in Duke (73-68) back on Nov. 28. The Buckeyes also had a string of 39 straight wins at home against non-conference foes come to an end, as it was their first setback in Columbus falling to West Virginia on Dec. 27, 2008. OSU kicks off Big Ten Conference play versus Nebraska on Wednesday, and that game will put the wraps on the team's season-long eight-game homestand.
Ohio State has never lost to Chicago State in three previous encounters, the most recent of which occurred on Nov. 14, 2005 in the season opener for both clubs.
With a record well below .500, it's not surprising to see Chicago State struggling at both ends of the court. The Cougars are shooting just 40.8 percent from the field, which includes a 34.6 percent effort from 3-point range, and they average 64.9 ppg. Their opponents are netting 73.1 ppg in hitting 45.0 percent of their total shots, which includes a 34.4 percent showing from beyond the arc. Adding to the frustration level is the fact that the team commits nearly 17 turnovers per outing. CSU does do a nice job of offsetting those mistakes by goading its foes into almost 16 miscues per outing. Jeremy Robinson is the only player currently averaging double figures in the scoring column, but his 10.4 ppg aren't going to scare many opponents. Three other players net between 9.1 and 9.6 ppg, so there is some balance, and Matt Ross heads the club's rebounding effort with 7.2 rpg, while Robinson ranks a close second at 6.4 rpg. Clarke Rosenberg and Jamere Dismukes scored 16 points apiece, but their efforts weren't good enough to push CSU into the win column, the team dropping a 22-point decision on the road to Houston. The visiting Cougars shot just 34.4 percent from the field, missing 17 of their 23 3-point tries along the way, while being outscored at the foul line (21-9), in the paint (40-26), out on the break (15-2), and off turnovers (19-11).
Ohio State shot a season-low 30.8 percent from the field, which included a woeful 25 percent showing in the second half, as it dropped an eight-point decision at home to Kansas last weekend. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks became the first team to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor against the Buckeyes this season, finishing at 51 percent. Deshaun Thomas, who leads the Big Ten in scoring at 20.0 ppg, paced OSU with 16 points, and he nailed three treys to give him 101 for his career. Shannon Scott scored a career-high 15 points and matched his career high with six rebounds for the Buckeyes, who lost the game despite goading KU into 19 turnovers, off which the home team scored 23 points. In addition to Thomas, who also paces the club with 6.8 rpg, Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (11.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg), LaQuinton Ross (9.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Aaron Craft (8.9 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Sam Thompson (8.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg) have all been productive performers for coach Thad Matta's team. Overall, Ohio State owns significant margins in scoring (+18.7), rebounding (+6.2) and turnovers (+4.9), while knocking down 45.3 percent of its total shots, which includes 37.0 percent of its 3-point attempts, while at the same time holding the enemy to .383 field goal efficiency and .315 accuracy from downtown.