Thad Matta probably felt like he won the Big Ten championship Saturday afternoon.
OK, maybe that is a bit of a stretch. But Ohio State's head coach certainly breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated as his team snapped a four-game losing streak with an 89-62 rout of Virginia Military Institute at the Schottenstein Center.
Ohio State put four players in double figures, led by Jae'Sean Tate's 19 points. Marc Loving also recorded his second-career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Trevor Thompson added 13 points and Keita Bates-Diop finished with 12 for the Buckeyes.
|33-69 (48)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||20-57 (35)|
|8-26 (31)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||12-31 (39)|
|15-19 (79)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||10-12 (83)|
Ohio State used its significant size advantage — VMI doesn't have a player on its roster listed over 6 feet, 6 inches — outscoring the Keydets 40-14 in the paint. The Buckeyes grabbed 48 rebounds to VMI's 27 and scored 29 second-chance points.
It was a strong start for Ohio State, jumping out to a quick 10-point lead before VMI responded with a 14-3 run of its own to gain a one-point advantage midway through the first half. From there, though, it was all Buckeyes as Ohio State responded with a 17-3 spurt of its own to take a 42-31 lead into halftime.
Bates-Diop led all scorers in the opening 20 minutes as he scored all 12 of his points in the first half while Tate and Thompson each had seven. Loving had six points and seven rebounds in the first half. The Buckeyes shot just 47 percent from the field and made just four 3-pointers in the opening half, but used their size to hold a 20-8 edge in points in the paint. OSU also committed just three turnovers.
Ohio State will next be in action Tuesday when it hosts Air Force at 8 p.m.