The Ohio State men continue their stretch of games in which they should win when they face the Savannah State Tigers out of the Mid-Eastern Conference tonight at home. The Buckeyes are coming off an easy win against Long Beach State. Savannah State, however, is coming off an 10 day layoff after losing their conference opener to Norfolk State on December 1st.
|School:||Savannah State University|
|Division:||NCAA Division 1|
|Conference:||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC)|
|Head Coach:||Horace Broadnax|
The Tigers are 5-4 but they struggle to score points. Seniors Rashad Hassan and Preston Blackman are the only two players that average double digits. Hassan’s 13.2 PPG (only 15 points total in his last two) leads the team and Blackman is second with 11.0. This will be the first of many hurdles for Savannah State because the Buckeyes oppose this with four players that average double digits. Deshaun Thomas is leading the team with 20.6 PPG followed by Lenzelle Smith and Aaron Craft with 11.0 PPG.
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||7||28.429||11.0||45.0||64.3||48.3||5.714||1.857||0.571||0.0||1.571|
Another key aspect of the game that the Tigers will have to overcome is their turnovers. Hassan and Blackman combine for 6.7 turnovers a game while the team averages 17.6 a game. Ohio State averages 7 steals per game with Shannon Scott (1.9) and Craft (1.6) leading the way. These two key ingredients could be a recipe for this game to be over barely after getting started.
Coach Matta will be looking for some consistency and equality from his team on the offensive end. There is a huge disparity in scoring after you get past Thomas. Ohio State can’t rely on just one guy to do it all for them and need someone else to step up and be “that” guy. We have seen flashes of this from Shannon Scott (who has been great coming off the bench) and Lenzelle Smith. In a game of this caliber, Matta should be able to play around with his lineups again and see if he can find that player to bring him consistency on the offensive end.
This is the second time this season that Savannah State will face a ranked opponent after losing 58-40 to Florida earlier in the year. As for this match up, this will be the first time that the Tigers and Buckeyes will meet and Ohio State hopes that it will be their 34th consecutive win against an unranked non-conference foe.
The Buckeyes will face the Tigers in Value City Arena Tonight (December 12th) at 7:00 PM Eastern Time. You’ll be able to see that game on the Big Ten Network.