Basketball Archives – 2007

Koufos Makes A Decision – to Wait
April 6, 2008 8:00 am EST

NIT Most Outstanding Player Kosta Koufos will announce this week whether he will stay at Ohio State, enter the NBA draft or leave to play Greece, according to a report in The Columbus Dispatch.  The 7-foot freshman declined to give a timetable for his decision after the National Invitation Tournament championship game Thursday. He was more forthcoming in a story published yesterday in the Canton Repository, his hometown newspaper.

“I’m not going to announce anything until next week,” Koufos said. “I’ve got to sit down and weigh all the pros and cons. I’m going to spend time with my mom and my family this weekend and talk about it.”

Koufos said that if he decides to turn professional, he will have a news conference in Canton. He did not specify what he will do if he decides to remain at Ohio State.  An OSU athletic department spokesman said yesterday that he had not discussed the matter with Koufos.


A Championship – Finally!
April 3, 2008 9:30 pm EST

I don’t want to hear that it was ‘just’ the NIT.  It is still a championship of which they should be proud.  Keep in mind, when the season ends, only two schools are going to go into next year with a winning streak in tact and one of them will be Ohio State.  As a fan, I just wish they could have started playing like this a little sooner.

For too much of the year, they played like they had no offensive identity.  They had Ohio’s all time career scoring champ in Ohio High School, yet he was averaging less than 5 points a game.  They had four games where they scored under 50 points, only winning one of them.  Yet somehow their lowest point total in the NIT was 73 points and they scored 92 in the championship game, matching the highest output of the season.  I guess you can see they finished strong.  I think the full court press they used that last few games made all the difference in the world.

The Buckeyes (23-13) got to cut down the nets just one year after falling short in the National Championship game one year ago.  They held on to defeat a scrappy UMass team 92-85 in Madison Square Garden to earn the school’s second NIT championship.  The other one was won by the Brad Sellers led squad of 1985-86.  Freshman Kosta Koufos led the scoring with 23 points and was named the tournament MVP.  Evan Turner contributed 20 points and Jamar Butler had 19 in his final game for Ohio State.  He will leave the team with the records for career assists, career 3-pointers, and 3-pointers in a season.  He will also leave with the most wins by a Buckeye player with 104.

There were several loses this season when I thought Matta may have been outcoached but he definitely had the upperhand tonight.  As he has been here as long as Butler, he too has 104 victories, as well as 35 defeats.  Throw in an NIT championship, an appearance in the NCAA Final Four, and two outright Big Ten titles, he has certainly had a nice start here in Columbus.


Buckeyes Defeat Ole Miss 81-69, Advance to the NIT Finals
April 1, 2008 11:45 pm EST

For the second straight year, Ohio State will be playing in the Finals.  But this year it will be the NIT Finals.  The Buckeyes (23-13) earned the trip with an 81-69 win over the SEC and Mississippi.  We missed the opportunity to have a repeat game against Florida when they lost to UMass in the other NIT semi-final 78-66.

It was a very balanced performance from the Scarlet and Gray scoring-wise as Jamar Butler and Evan Turner led the team with 17 points, as Kosta Kofous and David Lighty were just behind them with 16.  Othello Hunter just missed the double-figures mark when he finished with 9.  Blame the game opening dunk he missed or the the two free throws he missed at the end of the game just before fouling out.

The Rebels (24-11) never seemed to click in the first half and found themselves down 24 points at the break.  They were able to get as close as 7 points in the second half but was never able to get over the hump.  One of their normal strengths is rebounding but OSU grabbed five more boards, led by Koufos’ 8 rebounds.

A victory Thursday night will give OSU their first NIT championship since 1986.


Win over Dayton Earns OSU Another Trip to New York
March 27, 2008 12:15 am EST

It didn’t look good for Ohio State when they were down and Othello Hunter picked up his third personal foul before the end of the 1st half.  But as it turned out it was a blessing in disguise.  Ohio State went to a four guard line-up and it proved to be the answer for the Flyers.

Back-to-back baskets by Turner to start the second half turned the score in the Buckeyes’ favor and a four-guard lineup took it from there, leading Ohio State to a 74-63 victory last night in Value City Arena and into the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament next week in New York.  Kosta Koufos overcame early foul trouble to score a game-high 21 points and Jamar Butler added 12, Turner 11 and Jon Diebler 10 as the Buckeyes won the first meeting between the programs in 20 years.

Matta started guard Jon Diebler in his place for the second half and moved David Lighty from the wing to the baseline. The Buckeyes shot 60 percent from the field and scored 44 points in the second half, 15 of them off Dayton turnovers.

Ohio State (22-13) will play Mississippi (24-10) at about 9:30 pm Tuesday in Madison Square Garden. The game will start about 20 minutes after the end of the first semifinal between Florida (24-11) and Massachusetts (24-10), which begins at 7 pm Both games will be televised on ESPN2.

The victory sent the Buckeyes to New York for the second time this season. They played in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Madison Square Garden in November and beat Syracuse in a semifinal but were beaten 70-47 by Texas A&M in the championship game.


OSU Defeats Cal 73-56 to Advance to NIT Elite 8
March 24, 2008 10:00 pm EST

It was just like old times.  The Buckeyes moved their second round NIT game to historic St Johns Arena because of the Boss.  Not Gene Smith, but Bruce Springsteen.  Thanks to a previously scheduled concert tonight in Value City Arena, the home fans were treated to another game across the street in their former gym.


Editorial : The Madness of March Madness
March 17, 2008 6:30 pm EST

Joe-S-U brings us his own thoughts on March Madness.  Click here to reflect on the good and the bad of college basketball’s NCAA tournament.


Where Are They Now : Daequan Cook
February 27, 2008 7:15 am EST

The Miami Heat have sent first-round draft pick Daequan Cook to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League today.  He has been used sparingly over the past week.  Heat Coach Pat Riley told Cook yesterday about the move, which is expected to last for five games.  Riley indicated this move was about getting Daequan to improve his attitude, play harder and getting better prepared.


O’Brien Wins – OSU Loses as Court Upholds His $2.46 million Award
February 20, 2008 5:30 pm EST

This case is finally closed.  The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a $2.46 million award to Jim O’Brien, the former Ohio State University men’s basketball coach who was fired in 2004.  Ohio State’s appeal was declined with a vote of 5-2. The dissenting votes came from Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Judith Lanzinger.

O’Brien said in a phone interview that the fight to clear his name was worth it.  He also indicated he wasn’t actively pursuing a college coaching job.

O’Brien filed his lawsuit after he was fired for giving $6,000 to the family of a basketball recruit.  Judge Joseph T. Clark had ruled that although O’Brien acted improperly, he was fired without cause in a breach-of-contract lawsuit.  The Court of Claims said it was not a material breach of O’Brien’s contract when he gave $6,000 to the mother of Alexander Radojevic, a 7-foot-3-inch Serbian basketball recruit in 1998, and for concealing the payment for five years.

O’Brien’s possible return to coaching received a boost on Jan. 31, when the NCAA modified the timing of its hiring restrictions against him.  The NCAA Appeals Committee upheld a two-year show-cause penalty against O’Brien but adjusted the dates of the punishment to include time served, meaning O’Brien can pursue coaching opportunities without NCAA restrictions beginning March 9, 2008, instead of May 9, 2009 — a 14-month swing in his favor.


They Must Not Want to Win – Buckeyes Lose to Michigan
February 17, 2008 3:00 pm EST

As I type this, OSU is finishing their game against Michigan, an inexcusable 80-70 lose.  They are not playing with heart, they do not go after loose balls, they watch rebounds go off the floor, to the other team.  The offense is unorganized, the defense is spotty at best.  They are sitting in the Crisler Arena locker room right now with their hands on their knees.  None of their knees are scraped mind you as they don’t play with any …  well, heart.

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.  It has been a very frustrating season.  As a season ticket holder since 1971-72 season I thought I was entitled though.

Kosta Koufos once again led the team with 18 points, but only shooting 9-21 means we missed a lot of opportunities.  Many of those were within 6 feet of the basket.  OSU was also outscored 20-2 from the free throw line.  Some of that was the late game fouling to get the ball back, but it was also an indication of how we do not try to drive the lane and create offense.

Evan Turner continues to show promise with a strong 16 point outing, but OSU needs more consistent production from more players.  With the loss, Ohio State (17-9, 8-5) remains on the NCAA bubble, and they have a week to think about this one as they don’t play again until next Sunday.


Buckeyes Top Wildcats to Give Matta Win 200
February 13, 2008 11:45 pm EST

Kosta Koufos scored 16 points and gathered 11 boards as Ohio State beat Northwestern 65-47.  The victory should keep Ohio State in the consideration for an NCAA tournament berth.  They are still in 5th place in the Big Ten and there is no guarantee that the selection committee will take more than four teams from the conference this year.

With their NCAA hopes in doubt after reaching the finals last year, the Buckeyes (17-8, 8-4) could not afford a letdown after losing two of their previous three games. The defending Big Ten champions went on a 19-4 run in the second half to give coach Thad Matta his 200th career win and put away a team that is still searching for its first conference victory.  Jamar Butler had 12 points and six assists, giving him 517 and the career mark at OSU, one more than former record holder Kelvin Ransey.

Othello Hunter scored 14 points, Jon Diebler scored nine points and Evan Turner had add 10 points on the night.  Craig Moore scored 15 for Northwestern (7-15, 0-11), but it wasn’t enough to snap the Wildcats’ 16 game conference losing streak.


Road Trip Starts With a 68-56 Win over Penn State
January 29, 2008 9:30 pm EST

For the second straight game Jamar Butler leads the team to victory as the Buckeyes beat the Nittany Lions 68-56. This was the tenth straight win over Penn State and the win evens OSU’s Big Ten road record to 2-2.


Buckeyes Make it Two Straight with Win over Gophers
January 26, 2008 10:15 pm EST

A Value City Arena crowd of 19,049 watched as Ohio State jumped out to a 17-3 lead and never looked back in their 76-60 win over visiting Minnesota.  The victory improves their record to 14-6 overall and 5-2 in the conference.  This leaves them in 5th place but just a half game behind Michigan State.

Captain Jamar Butler led the way for the Buckeyes with 27 points and added 9 assists.  As a whole, the team shot 50% (26-52) for the game.  Three players pulled down 8 rebounds for top numbers in that category, Kosta Koufos, Othello Hunter and Ivan Turner.  If there is one thing they might want to look back on this game, it would be their bench scoring.    The Bucks only received 6 points from their bench.  Dan Coleman put in 14 points to top the Gophers (12-6, 2-4) in scoring. 6-foot guard Lawrence Westbrook led Minnesota in rebounding with 7.

The Scarlet and Gray have a chance to add a few more wins to their record over the next three games before the Hoosiers come to town, as they next play at Penn State, at Iowa and then a home game against Michigan.  All are very winnable games.


Football Team Will Appear at Halftime
December 23, 2007 9:30 am EST

The football team will make an appearance during the halftime of the game Saturday against Baltimore-MD County.  They have done this the past few years, a good chance to see the players and maybe get a few autographs.


Recruiting: OSU Signee Suffers Season Ending Injury
December 10, 2007 8:00 pm EST

Guard Walter Offutt, who a month ago signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Ohio State next season, suffered torn ligaments in his left knee in a basketball game and will miss the rest of his senior season at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis.  Offutt, who will have surgery this month, had surgery to repair torn knee ligaments in his other knee two years ago.  Depending on the pace of Offutt’s rehabilitation, Ohio State may redshirt him next season.

Offutt is the third Indianapolis prospect signed by Matta, who played and coached at Butler, in Indianapolis, before moving to Xavier in 2001 and then to Ohio State in 2004. Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., who played at Lawrence North High School, were the others.


OSU Runner-up in NIT with First 2007-08 Loss
November 23, 2007 10:30 pm EST

Down by only 6 points at half time, the Buckeyes could not get their shots to fall in the second half and lose to Texas A&M 70-47.  It was Ohio State’s largest margin of defeat since an 86-60 loss at Florida last season, Matta’s worst as a coach.  The Buckeyes(3-1), shot 24.6 percent from the field. Jamar Butler, who had 17 points, had six of their 14 field goals. The rest of the team was 8 of 44 from the field. Hunter, David Lighty and Jon Diebler were 1 of 23. Texas A&M shot 52.7 percent.

Ohio State didn’t score its first field goal of the second half until nearly five minutes had elapsed and didn’t score again for another seven. The Buckeyes, who scored 20 points in the first 13 1/2 minutes of the game, scored 10 in the next 18 minutes.

Guard Derrick Roland came off the bench to lead four Aggies scorers in double figures with 15 points. Jones had 10 points and seven rebounds and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Jones and 7-foot freshman center DeAndre Jordan led an inside game that turned things around after Koufos and Hunter went to the bench with two fouls apiece the last 7:28 of the first half. A 14-5 run that gave Texas A&M a six-point halftime lead included seven second-chance points off offensive rebounds.

Texas A&M (6-0) reached an NCAA regional semifinal last season before losing to Memphis by one point. Ohio State beat Memphis to advance to the Final Four.


Ohio State Advances to NIT Finals with Win over Syracuse
November 21, 2007 11:45 pm EST

On the Madison Square Garden floor where the Orange have played more than 100 games, the Ohio State beat  them at their own game last night, throttling the Orange’s athleticism with a scrappy zone defense in the final 30 minutes and pulling away for a 79-65 victory in a semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Freshman Kosta Koufos scored a career-high 24 points, and Othello Hunter was a presence at both ends of the court as the Buckeyes(3-0) advanced to the championship game at 7:00 pm Friday against No. 16 Texas A&M.  Hunter added 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots for the Buckeyes. Jamar Butler had 14 points and David Lighty 12.

Donte Greene led Syracuse with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Syracuse moved the ball inside Ohio State’s zone in the first nine minutes of the game much better than did the Buckeyes against the Orange zone. Syracuse did damage inside and out, with the 6-foot-11 Greene making two threes, to build a 20-13 lead.  Matta moved the 6-6 Turner on Greene’s wing, however, and Greene got nothing from outside the arc the rest of the half.  Fouled on a drive, Diebler made two free throws at 8:24 to put Ohio State ahead 23-22, and a three-point basket and a three-point play by Koufos 35 seconds apart extended the margin to 31-24 with 5:43 left.  Koufos also banked in a running floater off the glass with 2:15 left as the Buckeyes countered every Syracuse basket with one of their own and made it stickier for the Orange when they went inside the zone. Syracuse finished the half with 11 turnovers.  Koufos scored 15 points in the half and made 6 of 8 shots from the field as the Buckeyes shot 46.7 percent.

Syracuse trailed 42-34 at halftime but cut its deficit to three points in the first three minutes of the second half by attacking the boards for second chances. The Orange converted on consecutive possessions to pull to 46-43 with 17:03 remaining. Lighty left the floor with 17:30 left after being called for his third foul while setting a screen. Evan Turner replaced him and, on a set play out of a timeout, passed high-low to Koufos for a dunk that restored the Buckeyes’ lead to 48-43 with 15:38 left.  That began a 10-1 run that put Ohio State ahead 56-44 with 12:45 remaining. Koufos added three more points, giving him 22, and Butler capped it by ending a fast break with a three from the right wing.

The Buckeyes expanded their lead by three more points, to 67-52, in the next four minutes as penetration yielded open looks for three-point shooters, who capitalized. Treys by Matt Terwilliger and Jon Diebler and another by Butler sent Ohio State’s advantage soaring to 70-55 with 6:53 left.

The Buckeyes will face Texas A&M who defeated Washington 77-63 in the other semifinal.


Buckeye Cagers Open with a Win in NIT
November 12, 2007 11:30 pm EST

The Buckeye basketball team looked much sharper in their opening game than they did in their last exhibition game, defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay 91-68 in Value City Arena, in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.  Ohio State(1-0), advanced to a second-round game at 9 tonight against Columbia (1-1), which defeated Delaware State 47-41 in the other first-round game in Value City Arena.  The winner earns a trip to the NIT semifinals Nov. 21 in New York. The championship and consolation games are Nov. 23.

David Lighty had career highs of 21 points and eight rebounds, Kosta Koufos had 18 points and eight rebounds in his first college game and Butler and Othello Hunter added 17 points apiece for the Buckeyes, who rebounded impressively from last week’s two-point loss to Findlay.

Butler also had a career-high 10 assists and no turnovers as the Buckeyes shot 52.2 percent from the field and had five players combine to make 11 three-pointers. Hunter had four of the Buckeyes’ seven blocked shots.

Mike Schachtner led Wisconsin-Green Bay with 17 points.  The Phoenix started fast, scoring on nine of 13 possessions to take a 22-17 lead. But it couldn’t keep pace with Ohio State, which made 11 of its final 15 field-goal attempts in the half, shot 58.1 percent overall and led 46-34 at the break.  The Buckeyes expanded the lead to 58-36 in the first three minutes of the second half. The margin was not less than 20 points thereafter.

Wisconsin-Green Bay (1-1) and Delaware State (0-1) will play in the other game tonight at 6.