Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Having recently suffered their second loss of the season, the Ohio State Buckeyes get back to action on Monday evening when they entertain the RedHawks of Miami-Ohio at Value City Arena.
Miami enters the fray having lost seven of its first 10 games. The RedHawks did manage to snap a six-game losing streak the last time out, taking down visiting Longwood in a 71-60 final. It was the first taste of victory for a Miami team that hadn't won since beating Liberty (63-52) on Nov. 22.
Ohio State took a stellar 9-1 record in Saturday's showdown with North Carolina in Chicago, but coach Thad Matta's club came out on the short end of an 82-74 final. The setback put an end to the Buckeyes' four-game win streak. Their only other loss came in a 64-55 final versus another ranked ACC foe in Louisville on Dec. 2. OSU has played nine of its first 11 games in Columbus, and this bout begins a stretch of four in a row at home, which includes a pair of Big Ten tussles against Iowa and Illinois.
Ohio State owns a 5-2 series advantage over Miami, and the Buckeyes have won the last two meetings. The RedHawks' last win in the series came on March 17, 1993 in the NIT, 63-56.
Geovonie McKnight and Eric Washington scored 19 points apiece to propel Miami to its recent win over Longwood. The RedHawks led from the outset, and wound up hitting 45.1 percent of their field goal attempts, despite going 7-of-25 from 3-point range (.280). The team was outworked on the glass (38-27), but its defensive effort goaded the Lancers into 21 turnovers, off which the RedHawks scored 22 points. Miami had 15 steals in the game, with five each being credited to McKnight and Zach McCormick.
Washington (13.1 ppg, 5.2 apg), McKnight (10.8 ppg) and Will Sullivan (10.0 ppg) are all averaging double digits for a Miami squad that is putting up 63.6 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .436 overall, .360 from the perimeter, and .667 at the free-throw line. Defensively, the RedHawks permit 66.7 ppg, with foes converting 47.3 percent of their total shots. Miami comes up with fewer than 28 rebounds per tilt, sitting at -4.4 in rebounding margin, but it has done a nice job in forcing turnovers (15.4 per game).
For the second time this season, Ohio State failed in its bid to win a battle of ranked teams, this time falling to North Carolina on a neutral floor. Poor shooting doomed the Buckeyes, as they hit the mark on only 34.7 percent of their field goal attempts, actually shooting nearly as well from beyond the arc (10-of-29, .345). Marc Loving scored 19 points, Sam Thompson had 17, D'Angelo Russell 11 and Shannon Scott 10 to go with nine rebounds for OSU, which lost the battle on the boards, 53-40, while being outscored at the foul line, 21-14.
Russell continues to lead Ohio State in scoring with his 17.4 ppg, the team as a whole generating 83.3 ppg behind shooting outputs of .516 overall, .408 from beyond the arc, and .726 at the charity stripe. The Buckeyes' stout performance at the defensive end results in foes netting only 59.2 ppg, and the enemy has found it especially tough to both shoot (.386) and hold on to the basketball (18.5 turnovers per game). Loving (12.0 ppg) and Thompson (10.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg) round out the unit's double-digit scorers, while Scott (8.3 ppg, 7.9 apg, 2.8 spg) serves as one of the top floor generals in the country.