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Penn State First of Two Final Big Ten Road Games

February 27, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



OHIO STATE SPORTS RELEASE

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Date: Feb. 27, 2014
Ohio State Buckeyes (22-6, 9-5) at the Penn State Nittany Lions (13-14, 4-10)
Site: Bryce Jordan Center (15,261)
Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN2
Talent: Joe Tessitore (play-by-play)
Sean Farnham (expert analysis)
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 85/XM 85
Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460 Radio
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play)
Ron Stokes (expert analysis)

Craft Named Academic All-American for 3rd Time, Just 4th in B1G to do so
For the third-consecutive year, Aaron Craft has been named a NCAA Division-I First Team Academic All-American. He was named Capital One Academic All-District IV Jan. 30. Craft is a three-time Capital One Academic All-American, winning as a sophomore, junior and senior. In 2013 and again this year, he was named the Academic All-America of the year in men's basketball. Craft is Ohio State's only three-time Academic All-American in men's basketball. There have been just three previous Big Ten student-athletes in men's basketball to be named a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American. Only two other Division-I men's basketball student-athletes have eanred two Academic All-America of the year honors: Alec Kessler of Georgia and Matt Bonner of Florida.

Big Ten Three-Time Academic All-Americans
Men's Basketball
Steve Grote, MICH, 1975-76-77
Shon Morris, NU, 1986-87-88
Chris Hill, MSU, 2004-05-06
Aaron Craft, OSU, 2012-13-14

Bob Cousy Award Names Craft a Finalist
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Feb. 17 the 23 watch list finalists for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. Senior Aaron Craft made the list of 23. Named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, the annual honor recognizes the top point guards in men's college basketball. The original watch list of 80 candidates was narrowed down to the list of 23 by a nationally based committee. Beginning Tuesday February 18th through Monday March 10th, fans from around the country will have the chance to vote for the top point guard in college basketball - fans can vote at www.cousyaward.com.

Craft Among Senior CLASS Award Finalists
Aaron Craft was named a finalist for the 2014 Senior CLASS award Feb. 12. Fans have a vote in selecting the 2014 Senior CLASS Award winner in men's basketball at http://go.osu.edu/Vote4AC. Thirty men's basketball student-athletes were named candidates at the start of the season. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Media, coaches and fans will select the winner, who will be announced at the 2014 Final Four. Craft, a two-time first team academic All-American, is the third Buckeye in the last four years to make the initial list of candidates. David Lighty (2011) and William Buford (2012) each advanced to make the final list of 10 finalists.

NABC Names Craft to 2014 Good Works Team
Aaron Craft was named one of five men's basketball student-athletes in NCAA Division I to the 2014 AllState Good Works Team. The group, along with 15 others from Division I and II in men's and women's basketball, will convene at the 2014 Final Four to be recognized for their career community service efforts. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Allstate Insurance Company announced the 202 nominees for the 2014 AllState NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams® Dec. 3. The award recognizes a select group of college basketball student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the greater good of their communities through volunteerism and civic service. In its second year, the AllState NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams® honor players at all levels of college basketball who represent the sport's finest in the areas of leadership and charitable achievements amongst their peers. The student-athletes nominated for this prestigious award embody the true spirit of teamwork and giving back.  

Craft Earns 3rd Career B1G POW, 2nd of 2014
Aaron Craft averaged 12.0 points while recording 10 assists and nine steals in a pair of wins  Feb. 4 and Feb. 8. The Buckeyes downed No. 17 Iowa on the road and then dispatched Purdue at home. Craft scored 17 points while handing out six assists and recording six steals at Iowa, the best single-game numbers in the Big Ten since 2001. Craft moved to No. 7 all-time in assists (658) in Big Ten history while also taking over the No. 1 spot in career steals (321) since the NCAA officially recognized steals in 1985-86. Craft has earned three career Big Ten POW honors and two this season.

Vote Thad Matta
After the first round of the third annual Coaches' Charity Challenge, head coach Thad Matta is leading all coaches with 30 percent of votes and a 10-point percentage lead over Matt Painter of Purdue. With 48 coaches participating at the start, the field is now set at 24 and votes have been reset to zero. For the next week, fans can vote once a day at VoteCoachMatta.com to help Matta advance to the round of 16.  The Coaches' Charity Challenge is a fan-vote contest that will run for 10 weeks in a tournament-style format. Contributions from the contest have exceeded 300,000. Matta won the challenge in 2012 and 2013 earning 100,000 for the Ronald McDonald House of Charities of Central Ohio. He is once again supporting RMHC.        

The Penn State Series
Ohio State holds a 29-13 advantage in the Penn State series with an 11-7 record in State College. Thad Matta is 17-1 vs. the Nittany Lions with the lone loss coming in the most recent meeting, a 71-70 overtime setback in Columbus Jan. 29. The Buckeyes are 16-3 in the series while carrying an Associated Press Top 25 ranking vs. Penn State. Senior Aaron Craft is Ohio State's leading scorer in the PSU series with an average of 9.8 points per game over six career meetings. Amir Williams is Ohio State's leading rebounder in the series with 4.7 rpg in three career games. Craft is making 54 percent of his field goals in the series (23-43).      

A Look at the Nittany Lions
Penn State is 2-4 since earning an overtime win in Columbus Jan. 29. The Nittany Lions defeated Purdue at home and Indiana on the road around home losses to Illinois and Iowa and road defeats at Michigan State and Nebraska. Overall, Penn State is 13-14 with a 4-10 record in Big Ten Conference play. D.J. Newbill leads the team in scoring with 17.4 ppg. Senior Tim Fazier is the other double-digit scorer for PSU with 16.0 ppg. Ross Travis is the top rebounder with 6.9 rpg.       

Ohio State vs. The Big Ten
Ohio State is in its 102nd season as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Buckeyes own an overall record of 764-678 against current league members. Thad Matta, in 14 seasons as a head coach, owns an overall record of 142-58 vs. league members, including a mark of 139-56 while coaching the Buckeyes.  

400 and 4,000 Club
Aaron Craft scored three field goals at home vs. Michigan Feb. 11 to reach 400 for his career and to become just the sixth Buckeye to record 400 career field goals and play 4,000 or more minutes. Craft has played in 141 career games to date and has logged 4,579 career minutes. William Buford scored 744 career field goals and logged 4,726 career minutes, an Ohio State record, in 145 games. David Lighty was added to the exclusive club following the game vs. Illinois Jan. 22, 2011. Lighty made 516 career field goals and logged 4,582 career minutes during his 157-game career. Lighty's classmate Jon Diebler had 473 made baskets (374 of which were 3s) while playing a total of 4,687 minutes in 144 games. Herb Williams and Jamar Butler also logged 4,000+ minutes at Ohio State. Williams (1978-81) made 834 career field goals over 114 games and 4,216 minutes. Butler connected on 420 FGs (242 3FGs) over 139 games and 4,213 minutes played. Four of the five all-time Buckeyes in this group have played for Thad Matta.

Defense Clicking for Buckeyes
Ohio State did not allow an opponent to reach 70 points this season over the first 15 games before No. 5 Michigan State reached 72 in an overtime win Jan. 7. The 15-game streak to start the season without an opponent scoring 70 or more points was the longest for Ohio State since a 22-game streak during the 2010-11 season from Nov. 20, 2010 to Feb. 6, 2011. The Buckeyes were 22-0 over that streak. Ohio State has held 18 of the last 22 Big Ten opponents under 70 points dating back to Feb. 20, 2013. In 15 of those games, the opponent was held to 60 or fewer points. No. 4 Michigan State scored 60 in a 68-60 loss to the No. 18 Buckeyes in Columbus Feb. 24, 2013. The first, all-time, team to score 70 points in a game vs. the Buckeyes was New York University in an overtime NCAA tournament game March 25, 1945. Ohio State lost in the Final Four 70-65 at Madison Square Garden. Marquette was the first team to score 70 points vs. Ohio State in a regular-season game. The Golden Eagles fell to Ohio State in Milwaukee 83-70 Dec. 13, 1947. The first team to score 70 against the Buckeyes in Columbus was DePaul, who defeated the Buckeyes 70-68 Dec. 3, 1949 in the season opener. Since the 1949-50 season, Ohio State's longest streak of holding opponents under 70 points is 32 games from Dec. 5, 1949 to Dec. 30, 1950. Thad Matta teams have three of the top four longest streaks in Ohio State history holding opponents under 70 points. The 15-game streak this season of not allowing an opponent to reach 70 points this season (15-0) is the  fourth longest all-time in Ohio State history.  
    
Buckeyes Among National Stat Leaders
After 28 games, Ohio State ranks No. 2 nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.270), No. 6 in scoring defense (58.1 ppg.), No. 12 in fewest fouls per game (16.0) and No. 15 in scoring margin (12.4 ppg.). Aaron Craft is No. 4 nationally in total steals (73).

Ohio State in the Big Ten
The Buckeyes are holding opponents to 58.1 points per game to lead the Big Ten in scoring defense. The Buckeyes are No. 2 in scoring margin (+12.4 ppg.), No. 1 in 3-point percentage defense (.270), No. 2 in field goal percentage defense (.398) and No. 2 in steals (7.5 spg.). The Buckeyes are No. 1 in turnover margin (+3.3). Junior Amir Williams is No. 1 in the conference in field goal percentage (88-147/.599). Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in steals (2.6/2.1). Craft is No. 3 in assists (4.6).
 
Noting the Minnesota Game

  •     Ohio State leads the all-time series with the Gophers 81-56.
  •     The Buckeyes are 50-18 overall vs. Minnesota in Columbus. Ohio State has won the last seven home games in the series.
  •     All-time, OSU is 60-19 in Value City Arena sellouts (2-2 this season). The Buckeyes are 49-15 against Big Ten opponents in VCA sellouts.
  •     OSU is 82-24 all-time against Big Ten opponents at Value City Arena, 8-1 against Minnesota.
  •     Trailing 30-18 with 19:26 to play in the second half, Ohio State outscored the Gophers 34-7 over 12:19 of play to take a commanding 52-37 lead.
  •     Ohio State has not lost twice in the regular season to a Big Ten opponent since the 2008-09 season (Michigan State, Illinois). OSU avoided a two-game season sweep by the Gophers with the victory.
  •     The last time Ohio State came back to win after trailing by 10 or more points at the half: Jan. 12, 2010 at Purdue. The Buckeyes trailed 42-29 and won 70-66.
  •     The Buckeyes own an overall record of 764-678 against current Big Ten members.
  •     Three players scored in double figures for the Buckeyes: Sam Thompson (19 points), Lenzelle Smith Jr. (13) and Shannon Scott (10).
  •     Ohio State is 475-130 all-time as a ranked team. The Buckeyes hold a record of 27-4 vs. the Gophers when ranked.
  •     Ohio State has held opponents to under 50 percent shooting 26 times this season (Minnesota: 35.4 percent, 17-48).
  •     OSU held Minnesota to season lows in: points (46), rebounds (25), assists (7) and made field goals (17).
  •     Minnesota shot 23.5 percent from 3-point range (4-17). Through 26 games, OSU ranks No. 4 nationally in 3-point field goal percent defense (27.3 percent).
  •     Ohio State owned a 35-25 advantage on the glass and outscored Minnesota in the paint 34-20. The Buckeyes scored 30 of their 34 paint points in the second half.
  •     The Buckeyes outscored the Gophers on the fast break 17-4.
  •     Thad Matta is 272-79 during his career at Ohio State and 374-110 overall as a head coach.
  •     In 14 seasons as a head coach, Matta owns an overall record of 142-58 vs. Big Ten members, including a mark of 139-56 while coaching the Buckeyes.
  •     Matta is 11-6 against Minnesota.
  •     At the helm of the Ohio State program, Matta is 50-23 in the month of February.
  •     Sam Thompson led all scorers with a season-high 19 points - 16 of which came in the second half of play. Minnesota tallied 18 second half points.
  •     Thompson passed 250 career rebounds (252).
  •     Aaron Craft scored six points. He has 1,238 for his career, No. 32 on the all-time scoring list at Ohio State. He needs three points to pass Ron Stokes (1,240) for 31st.
  •     Craft dished five assists. He is Ohio State's all-time assist leader with 658 for his career. He needs 17 assists to pass Dee Brown of Illinois (674) for sixth on the all-time Big Ten list.
  •     Had four steals. He ranks second all-time in the Big Ten with 321 for his career. He needs four steals to pass Bruce Douglas of Illinois (324) for first place. Craft has 28 career games with four or more steals.
  •     Craft tied Gary Payton of Oregon State and Chris Garner of Memphis for 22nd all-time in career steals in NCAA Division I history. He needs three steals to pass Devin Gibson of UTSA for 21st. The NCAA first recognized steals during the 1985-86 season.
  •     Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored 13 points. Has scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 games.   

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