College Basketball

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Northern Kentucky (0-4) at (4) Ohio State (4-1)



Saturday, December 1, 4:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Value City Arena (18,809) -- Columbus, Ohio. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: N. Kentucky 0-0, Ohio St. 2-0. Away Record: N. Kentucky 0-1, Ohio St. 0-1. Neutral Record: N. Kentucky 0-3, Ohio St. 2-0. Conference Record: N. Kentucky 0-0, Ohio St. 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: Coming off their first loss of the season, the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes face a quick turnaround as they play host to the Norse of Northern Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.

Northern Kentucky has yet to taste victory as a member of Division I, logging an 0-4 record, with all four games taking place away from home. The Norse, who play their basketball out of the Atlantic Sun Conference presently, dropped a 69-58 decision to Cal State Northridge in their most recent outing, and their last win over D-I opponent came on Jan. 14, 1984 when they defeated Tennessee State, 66-64.

Ohio State had opened the campaign with four straight wins, but the team faced its toughest test to date in Wednesday's Big Ten/ACC Challenge clash at No. 2 Duke, and fell to the Blue Devils in a 73-68 final. The Buckeyes are happy to be home following the setback, as they have won 34 straight non-conference game in Columbus, averaging nearly 90 ppg along the way. OSU will play its next eight games at home, and won't hit the road again until playing at Illinois on Jan. 5, 2013 in its second conference game on the schedule.

While this is the first official bout between Northern Kentucky and Ohio State, the two teams met in an exhibition game in 2004, with the Buckeyes posting a 77-67 victory.

A lack of offensive punch has been Northern Kentucky's issue through the first four games, as the team is averaging a paltry 56.8 ppg in hitting just 38.2 percent of its field goal attempts, which includes a 25.0 percent showing from three-point range. Eshaunte Jones (15.8 ppg) is the only double-digit scorer for the Norse, and he has nearly as many three-point baskets (11) as his closest teammate has attempts (16). The team hasn't played all that poorly on defense, allowing 66.5 ppg, despite permitting the opposition to connect on 50.0 percent of their total shots. Jones poured in 24 points on the strength of four treys, but his effort went for naught once again as NKU shot just 36.9 percent from the floor, missed 18 of its 24 long-range bombs, and suffered a crippling 22-4 deficit in points from the foul line as it dropped an 11-point decision to CS Northridge the last time out. Jalen Billups chipped in 10 points in the setback.

Poor shooting proved to the Buckeyes' undoing in the recent loss at Duke, as they hit just 33.8 percent of their field goal attempts, converting a mere 6- of-21 three-point tries along the way. Conversely, the Blue Devils made good on 47.1 percent of their total shots which was remarkable considering they were just 30 percent accurate in the first half. Deshaun Thomas led Ohio State with 16 points, while Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. pitched in with 11 apiece. Thomas has been a man possessed for the Buckeyes in the first few weeks of the season, averaging 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Craft adds 13.6 points and 4.4 assists per outing, while Smith, Jr. contributes 11.4 points and 5.2 caroms per contest. The team as a whole is putting up 77.4 ppg in knocking down 47.7 percent of its field goal tries, which includes a rock- solid 43.2 percent effort from beyond the arc. At the other end, foes are netting only 60.4 ppg behind a .397 field goal percentage, and they are guilty of more than 13 turnovers per game while the Buckeyes cough it up only 9.0 times per tilt. OSU is +5.8 in rebounding margin.

The Norse have very little chance of keeping this game competitive let alone pulling off what would have to be considered one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. With that said, expect the Buckeyes to get out to a huge lead before emptying the bench in the second half.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 91, Northern Kentucky 49

12/01 10:33:15 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
7:05pm Tuesday
PHI 0
ATL 0
7:05pm Tuesday
NYY 0
CHC 0
7:05pm Tuesday
BAL 0
TAM 0
7:08pm Tuesday
DET 0
CLE 0
Final
CIN 7
PIT 5
Final
MIA 11
WAS 2
Final
TEX 5
SEA 0
Final
CWS 2
BOS 1
Final
HOU 2
KAN 4
Final
MIL 1
STL 6
Final
MIN 3
TOR 9
Final
ARI 0
NYM 9
Final
ANA 9
OAK 10
Final
SDP 2
COL 3
Final
SFG 3
LOS 2
 
12:35pm Today
CIN
PIT
12:35pm Today
BAL
TAM
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
CHC
 
1:10pm Today
MIL
STL
 
3:40pm Today
ARI
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
ATL
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
CHC
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CLE
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
LOS
 
Final
BRK 98
NYK 109
Final
LAC 117
DEN 105
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DET
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
BOS
WAS
 
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR