Basketball seniors become winningest classes in Ohio State history
Last Sunday, three Buckeyes celebrated their final home game in as close to perfect fashion as can be imagined. The women’s basketball trio of Alice Jamen, Marscilla Packer and Tamarah Riley each closed out their careers with not only a win over Northwestern, but also a fourth-consecutive Big Ten title and career victory No. 109 for each.
Within a span of just two days, the men’s seniors had their evening to shine. In their second to last scheduled home game Tuesday, the Buckeyes upset 15th-ranked Purdue, 80-77, in overtime, giving Jamar Butler and Matt Terwilliger their 99th win together in an Ohio State uniform.
Butler and Terwilliger will be joined by Othello Hunter Sunday to celebrate men’s senior day at Ohio State. Both groups have had impressive runs en route to setting each respective victory mark.
The women’s record was only a year old, as the 2008 seniors displaced head coach Jim Foster’s initial recruiting class as the winningest of all time. Stephanie Blanton, Jessica Davenport and Brandie Hoskins set the standard for what Foster’s teams have accomplished in his six seasons at Ohio State. They amassed 108 victories from 2004-07, topped by Jamen, Packer and Riley Sunday with the win over Northwestern.
That is impressive company to keep. Davenport was a three-time All-American and won three Big Ten Player of the Year awards. Hoskins was a three-time All-Big Ten performer and conference tournament MVP. Blanton holds one of the top career 3-point percentages in Ohio State history.
The men’s mark, on the other hand, has stood quite a test of time. Every couple of seasons, more games continue to be added to the collegiate schedule, meaning current student-athletes have more opportunities to stockpile wins and dismount the current standard. But the men’s team from 1960-63 built a jaw-dropping resume.
Richard Reasbeck and Douglas McDonald, seniors on the 1963 team, finished with 98 career wins, three NCAA championship game appearances, the national title in 1960 and four Big Ten titles, which includes three outright conference championships from 1960-62. The three squads that reached the NCAA championship game played in 28 games total, as opposed to the 2007 Buckeyes who reached the championship game in the 39th contest of the season.
Following a 20-4 mark their senior season, Reasbeck and McDonald, commonly overlooked for household names from the previous senior class like John Havlicek, Jerry Lucas and Bob Knight, owned an overall record of 98-10, a .907 win percentage. Reasbeck and McDonald both had modest individual careers, each averaging less than 10 points a game, but contributed to one of the greatest men’s basketball legacies of all time.
With all that being said, Butler and Terwilliger’s mark truly is nothing to shake a stick at. The pair has helped lead Ohio State to a set of Big Ten championships, a thrilling run to the national title last season and commendable performances against one of the toughest schedules in the country this year.
Both the men’s and women’s seasons have included more losses than in recent past. The women, 22-7 this season, take the floor at 6 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis vs. Illinois. The men currently straddle the NCAA tournament border at 18-12 heading into the game Sunday vs. Michigan State at noon in Value City Arena.
Both seasons have proved to be tests for each senior class, but each group has shown strong character deserving of the praise and support they will receive from the Buckeye faithful as the postseason approaches.
By Pat Kindig, Ohio State Athletics