Playing in front of a home crowd, on national television, Ohio State alumni team Scarlet & Gray gave Buckeye fans a flashback to the past that was enjoyed by the majority of the packed house at Capital University.
|#1 SCARLET & GRAY||21||34||17||27||99|
|#16 WV WILDCATS||14||16||24||14||68|
Led by Jared Sullinger, Scarlet & Gray dominated the No. 16 seed West Virginia Wildcats, 99-68, in front of a capacity crowd that included former head coach Thad Matta, Clark Kellogg and a handful of other Ohio State legends.
Sullinger poured in 20 points against the Wildcats, scoring from both inside and out, converting on back-to-back three pointers in the first half. He added six rebounds in the victory and a trio of assists.
The Buckeyes opened the game on a 7-0 run, and never trailed as every player who suited up scored for Scarlet & Gray. Penn State alum Talor Battle contributed 11 first-half points, finishing with 16. Scarlet & Gray's bench contributed 62 bench points in the win, while starters Sullinger, Aaron Craft, David Lighty, William Buford and Dallas Lauderdale added the other 37.
|SCARLET & GRAY||STAT||WILDCATS|
|37-66 (56.1%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||22-63 (34.9%)|
|16-34 (47.1%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||7-26 (26.9%)|
|9-18 (50.0%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||17-20 (85.0%)|
Scarlet & Gray's lead swelled to as many as 27 in the first half before the Buckeye alums took a 55-30 lead into the locker room. By halftime, Scarlet & Gray had converted on 10-of-16 three-point shots, including a 30-footer from Byron Mullens who banked the shot home.
For the game, Scarlet & Gray shot 16-of-34 from long range and out rebounded the Wildcats 42-33, making it at easy day for head coach Scoonie Penn.
"When we have big guys like (Sullinger and Mullens) controlling the boards and scoring inside, Jon Diebler and Talor Battle hitting threes like they were today, it made our job kind of easy," Penn said. "We are happy about our win and we look forward to playing again tomorrow."
The second half featured more of the same, as the crowd at Capital University's Performance Center routinely came to their feet. Current Ohio State basketball players Micah Potter, C.J. Jackson, Keyshawn Woods, Joey Lane and Luther Muhammad stood with their peers in the student section, while the likes of Michael Redd, Terrence Dials and Matt Terwilliger watched from the bleachers. Matta, who coached the majority of the Scarlet & Gray roster at Ohio State, watched from an enclosed box.
The Wildcats opened the second half on a 13-6 run, however the West Virginia momentum didn't last. Battle converted on his fourth three-pointer of the game, before a 6-0 run by Mullens, punctuated by a thunderous dunk, all but ended the Wildcats' chances. Mullens finished with 14 points and five rebounds.
The dunk brought the entire crowd at Capital University to its feet and sent the Scarlet & Gray bench on the floor, causing a momentary pause in the game. The slam was particularly gratifying for Mullens, who was forced to miss last year's TBT with a torn ACL.
"I saw the defender out of the corner of my eye, and knew I had to get it," Mullens said. "I don't know why he jumped. Obviously the fans loved it."
As the game turned to the fourth quarter, Matta was brought courtside for an interview with ESPN. The interview was briefly interrupted as the sold-out crowd gave Matta a standing ovation.
Thad Matta gets a standing ovation from those in attendance. pic.twitter.com/ZVogFVuqRq— James Grega Jr. (@JGrega11) July 21, 2018
Scarlet & Gray put its finishing touches on the win in the fourth, taking a 91-65 at the first dead ball under four minutes, putting into effect the Elam Ending. Evan Ravenel hit the game-winner for the Buckeyes, sealing the victory.
The Buckeye alums will take on the Texas Tech alumni team, The Matadors, Sunday at 2 p.m. from Capital University. The game will be televised on ESPN.