Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The 14th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will attempt to put the negativity surrounding their first loss of the season behind them, as they play host to the Colgate Raiders on Saturday afternoon.
Colgate has had a difficult start to the 2014-15 campaign, the team winning only once in seven opportunities. Currently, the Raiders are mired in a four- game losing streak, although they've certainly been competitive in dropping all four by a combined 18 points. The most recent setback occurred this past Wednesday in a 71-70 final versus Sacred Heart.
As the other end of the spectrum resides an Ohio State team that sprinted out to a 5-0 start. Among that quintet of triumphs was a 106-48 shellacking of the same Sacred Heart squad that just beat Colgate. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes found themselves on the short end of a 64-55 decision at No. 5 Louisville on Tuesday as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The all-time series between these two teams is knotted at 1-1, with the most recent encounter taking place in Columbus back during the 1980-81 season, and resulting in a 77-58 triumph for Ohio State.
Despite near double-doubles from Ethan Jacobs (20 points, nine rebounds) and Luke Roh (nine points, 11 rebounds), as well as 15 points from Austin Tillotson, Colgate came up a point short against Sacred Heart last time out. Had the Raiders shot better than 41.2 percent from the floor, which included a 4-of-14 showing from 3-point range, and protected the ball better (19 turnovers), the outcome would have been different, as they easily won the rebounding battle (46-28) while outscoring the Pioneers at the free-throw line (24-11).
Colgate is averaging 63 ppg, but allowing 66.3 ppg, and the team usually gets productive outings from Damon Sherman-Newsome (16.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg), Tillotson (14.3 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Jacobs (10.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg), while a guys like Matt McMullen (8.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Roh (7.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg) find other ways to help out. Forcing turnovers has been an issue early on, as opponents are guilty of only 8.9 miscues per outing.
Neither team shot very well in Ohio State's recent showdown with Louisville, but the Cardinals nailed 10 3-pointers while narrowly winning the battle on the boards, 46-41, in earning the nine-point win. The Buckeyes hit only 30.4 percent of their field goal attempts in the game, which included an absolutely horrific 23.1 percent showing in a first half in which they scored only 18 points. By contrast, the Cards, who managed only a .352 field goal percentage in the contest, tallied 35 points in the opening frame. D'Angelo Russell paced OSU with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Marc Loving chipped in with 13 points and six boards of his own in defeat.
Despite the low-scoring effort against Louisville, Ohio State is still averaging a robust 81.8 ppg behind a typical shooting performance that sees 52.5 percent of its overall field goal attempts, and 40.5 percent of its 3- point tries find the bottom of the net. Defensively, the team is permitting only 58.3 ppg, as foes convert a mere 37 percent of their total shots. The Buckeyes, who are led by Russell (17.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.5 apg), Loving (12.2 ppg), Sam Thompson (11.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Shannon Scott (8.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 8.8 apg, 2.8 spg), are +4.8 in rebounding margin, and +6.2 in turnover differential.