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Dec. 17, 2002

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Opponent No. 4 Pittsburgh
Site Peterson Events Center (12,500)
Game Time 7:30 p.m. (EST)
TV ESPN Plus
Local TV WBNS Ch. 10
TV Talent Mike Gleason (P-by-P), Bill Hosket (Color)
Radio OSU Radio Network (63 stations)
Local Radio WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent Paul Keels (P-by-P),Ron Stokes (Color)

Ohio State Buckeyes
Probable Starters (3-2)

G 4 – Brent Darby, 6-1, Sr.
G 3 – Sean Connolly, 6-5, Sr.
G 20 – Emonte Jernigan, 6-3, Jr.
C 34 – Terence Dials, 6-9, So.
F 33 – Zach Williams, 6-7, Jr.

No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers
Probable Starters (6-0)

G 20 – Brandin Knight, 6-0, Sr.
G 1 – Julius Page, 6-3, Jr.
C 55 – Toree Morris, 6-10, Jr.
F 5 – Donatas Zavackas, 6-8, Sr.
F 4 – Jaron Brown, 6-4, Jr.

Darby Earns First Career Big Ten Player of the Week Award
Senior Brent Darby broke the 30-point barrier for the second time in his last three games to re-capture the Big Ten scoring lead and earn Big Ten Conference Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career. He poured in 30 points on 69 percent (11-16) shooting, hitting 5 of 7 3-point attempts, to lead the Buckeyes past Morehead State (74-60). Darby tied the Ohio State Value City Arena scoring record with his 30-point outburst and set three career-bests with 11 field goals, five three-pointers and four steals. He is also ranked either first or second in the League in assists (T2nd, 5.00), steals (2nd, 2.20) and three-point field goal percentage (T1st, .600). The Detroit-native has also been an iron man on the court, playing all 40 minutes in each of the first four games of the season before posting “only” 36 minutes in the victory vs. Morehead State. Pittsburgh, Ohio State Meet for 26th Time
Ohio State is 15-10 in the series between the Buckeyes and the Panthers of Pittsburgh. The teams first met in 1926 and played consistently through 1961. The teams then went 40 years without a matchup before the series was renewed Dec. 19, 2001 in Columbus. The Panthers won that game 62-56.

Panthers Averaging 30-Point Wins
Pittsburgh, ranked No. 4 nationally with a 6-0 record, has averaged 84.5 points a game while opponents are scoring 54.7 points a contest. The Panthers also enjoy a 14-rebound advantage with an average of 42.7 rebounds a game. Foes manage just 28.7 caroms a contest. Pittsburgh is 5-0 at home with wins over Duquesne (82-67), St. Francis, Pa. (69-46), Arkansas Pine-Bluff (89-49), Norfolk State (96-51) and most recently against Southeastern Louisiana (89-55). The Panthers’ lone road game was an 82-60 win over Penn State Dec. 7.

Four Panthers Scoring in Double Figures
Junior guard Julius Page is averaging 14.8 points per game to lead Pittsburgh offensively. He is followed by forward Donatas Zavackas with 12.0 ppg., guard Brandin Knight (10.5 ppg.) and guard Jaron Brown with 10.3 ppg. Senior forward Ontario Lett is the team’s leading rebounder with 6.8 rebounds per game.

Hot Shooting Propels Panthers in Win
Six Pittsburgh players scored in double figures as the Panthers used 64.2 percent shooting from the field to defeat Southeastern Louisiana 89-55 Saturday. The victory improves Pittsburgh to 6-0 on the year, its best start since the 1998-99 season. The Panthers hit 34 of 53 shots from the floor and assisted on 24 of 34 field goals. The 64.2 percent field goal shooting was Pittsburgh’s best since it shot 65.1 percent (28-43) against St. Francis (PA) on November 29, 2000. Pittsburgh also improved to 38-1 under head coach Ben Howland when holding an opponent under 60 points.

Ohio State 4-2 in Last 6 vs. Top 10 Foes
Ohio State is 54-104 (.342) all-time in games against Top 10 opponents. The Buckeyes are 4-2 in the last six games against Top 10 teams. No. 3 Michigan State (64-55) and No. 3 Illinois (63-61) fell in 2001. No. 9 Iowa (72-72) and No. 10 Illinois (94-88) lost to the Buckeyes in 2002. No. 4 Alabama broke a four-game winning streak vs. Top 10 foes with a 54-48 win over Ohio State at the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic Nov. 29. No. 4 Duke downed the Buckeyes 91-76 Dec. 3. The Buckeyes were not ranked in any of these games. The last time the Buckeyes downed a non-Big Ten foe ranked in the Top 10 was March 20, 1999. Ohio State beat No. 9 St. John’s 77-74 to advance to the Final Four. That game followed a 71-64 win over No. 4 Auburn in the 1999 South Regional semifinals played in Knoxville, Tenn., March 18.

Buckeyes Improve to 3-2 with win vs. Morehead State
Brent Darby continued his strong play, scoring 30 points to lead Ohio State to a 74-60 victory over cold-shooting Morehead State. Darby, who had a career-high 35 points against Duke on Dec. 3, hit 11-of-16 shots, including 5-of-7 3-pointers, and made several key baskets in the second half after Morehead State threatened to make it a game. Sean Connolly added 12 points for the Buckeyes. Zach Williams scored 10 points for Ohio State, which led by as many as 20 points in the first half before the Eagles made a run to get within 10 after halftime. Morehead State, which had scored 100 points in two of its three victories, never got its offense on track. The Eagles hit only 36 percent of their shots and committed 11 of their 17 turnovers in the first half while the Buckeyes built a 36-22 lead – with half of the points coming from Darby. Morehead State leading scorer Ricky Minard had nine points, 14.8 below his average. Marquis Sykes had 12 points and Chad McKnight scored 10 for the Eagles. Darby had 15 of the Buckeyes’ first 22 points. He hit 7-of-9 shots, including 4-of-5 3-pointers, in the first half while playing the entire 20 minutes.

Noting the Win over Morehead State

Brent Darby’s 30 points ties the record for most points scoredin Value City Arena by a Buckeye. Scoonie Penn scored 30 againstWisconsin (2-24-99). The building single-game scoring record is 32by Marcus Taylor of Michigan State (2-27-02). Ohio State is 2-0 alltime vs. Morehead State and 12-0 all time in games vs. the OhioValley Conference. Ohio State has a 74-18 record (.804) whenscoring 70 or more points in a game under head coach Jim O’Brien.The Buckeyes led 36-22 at halftime including 16 points off 11 Eagleturnovers. Morehead State did not have any points off 12 Ohio Stateturnovers in the first half. Ohio State’s 36 points at the breakwere the most scored in the first half this season. The Buckeyestallied 35 points in the first half against Tennessee Tech (12/7).The OSU defense also limited Morehead State to 22 points, thefewest in the first half by an opposing team. Tennessee Techtallied 22 points in the first half back on Dec. 7. Senior BrentDarby connected for a career-high five 3-pointers against theEagles. His previous career-high was four, which he tied earlierthis season against Duke (12/3). Darby hit four 3-pointers in thefirst half alone and made one in the second half. He also set acareer-high with 11 field goals, which surpassed his previous markof eight against the Blue Devils. With five 3-pointers made againstMorehead State, senior Brent Darby moved into sixth place on thecareer-made 3-pointers list with 113. Boban Savovic, who playedwith the Buckeyes from 1999-2002 is fifth on the list with 125career 3-pointers. Darby also is tied for seventh on the career3-pointers attempted chart with 283. Darby reached 30 or morepoints for the second time this season. The last time a playerscored 30-plus points at least twice in a season was Michael Reddduring the 1998-99 season. Redd recorded 30 points at Wisconsin(1/2/99) and versus Purdue (1/19/99). He also scored 32 pointsagainst Illinois during the Big Ten Tournament. Senior SeanConnolly recorded 12 points against the Eagles, making him the onlyBuckeye to score double figures in all five games this season.Redshirt freshman Matt Sylvester tallied a career-high six pointsfor the Buckeyes. His previous career high was five points againstTennessee Tech (12/7). His three field goals tied a career-high. Inthe second half, sophomore Brandon Fuss-Cheatham stepped on thecourt for the first time this season since going down with a kneeinjury Nov. 22 in the final exhibition game against the HarlemGlobetrotters. He finished with 1 point in six minutes. With thereturn of Fuss-Cheatham, this is the first game where Darby has notplayed the entire 40 minutes.

Four Top 10 Opponents on Schedule
Ohio State is scheduled to play four teams and five games against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls Top 6, a total of seven in the Top 25 and another three (Wisconsin, Purdue and Louisville) receiving votes for Top 25 consideration. No. 2/4 Alabama, No. 3/2 Duke, No. 4/3 Pittsburgh and No. 6/6 Indiana all face the Buckeyes early in the season. With games vs. No. 4 Alabama and No. 4 Duke in the books, the Buckeyes travel to take on Pittsburgh Wednesday and then welcome Indiana to Columbus. Indiana and the Buckeyes play twice in a span of 11 days beginning with a home game Jan. 11 and ending with a road contest Jan. 21. No. 25 Minnesota makes a visit to Columbus Feb. 5 for the only meeting of the year. Ohio State travels to No. 12/12 Illinois Feb. 9. No. 15 Michigan State plays host to the Buckeyes Jan. 9 in the Big Ten opener.

Fuss-Cheatham Returns to Action, Jenkins Still Recovering
Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, a sophomore point guard, and Shun Jenkins, a junior forward, have missed game action while recovering from injuries suffered Nov. 22 against the Harlem Globetrotters in the final exhibition game. Fuss-Cheatham, who started both exhibition contests this year, went down with an injury to his left knee. The injury, a partially torn lateral meniscus, required arthroscopic surgery Nov. 25. Fuss-Cheatham returned to action with six minutes of playing time against Morehead State Dec. 14. Jenkins suffered a broken little finger on his left hand. He had surgery Nov. 27 and has missed the first five games of the season to day. He will be evaluated Thursday when the pins in his broken finger are removed.

Connolly on Scoring Streak
Senior Sean Connolly has reached double figures offensively in each of the five games this season. The streak is the longest since he opened his freshman campaign at Providence with six-consecutive double-digit games.

Darby Leads Big Ten in Scoring
Senior Brent Darby is the Big Ten’s leading scorer with 21.0 points a game. He has reached 30 or more points twice this season and leads Ohio State in scoring, field goal shooting (32-63/.508), 3-point shooting (15-25/.600), foul shooting (26-32/.813), assists (25), steals (11) and minutes played, tied with Sean Connolly (196/39.2). Darby also is the top 3-point shooter in the Big Ten and is second in assists (25/5.0) and steals (11/2.20).

Darby, Connolly Near 100 Games Played
Seniors Brent Darby and Sean Connolly are approaching 100 games played in their collegiate careers. Connolly has played a total of 98 games at Providence (30) and Ohio State (68). Darby has played in 95 games as a Buckeye with 53 career starts.

Buckeyes Own 51-37 Rcd. vs. Big East
Ohio State has played each member of the Big East Conference at least once. The Buckeyes have faced the Panthers more than any other Big East Squad (25) and have won 15 of those meetings.

Boston College 1-1 Connecticut 3-2 Georgetown 2-1 Miami, Fla. 1-2 Notre Dame 6-5 Pittsburgh 15-10 Providence 1-0 Rutgers 0-1 St. John’s 7-2 Seton Hall 2-1 Syracuse 3-2 Villanova 1-1 Virginia Tech 0-4 West Virginia 9-5 Totals 51-37

Howland in Year Four at Pittsburgh
Ben Howland is in his fourth season at Pittsburgh, where he has compiled a 51-32 overall record. He is 146-94 overall in nine seasons as a head coach. He was the head coach at Northern Arizona from 1994-99 before taking over the Pittsburgh program.

This Date In History
Ohio State is 11-6 in games played on Dec 18. Ohio State has won four of its last five games on this date. The last was a 81-40 win over Alabama State in 1996. The last road win was an 82-75 over Santa Barbara in 1991.

OSU on Dec. 18 12/18/04 W Central High 65-14 12/18/19 W Ohio Wesleyan 41-17 12/18/44 W Utah 64-36 12/18/48 L Oklahoma (ot) 55-64 12/18/54 W @Oklahoma 102(14)-84 12/18/59 W @Butler 96-68 12/18/61 W @St. Louis 61(1)-48 12/18/65 L @St. Louis 58-83 12/18/71 W @Butler 82(10)-70 12/18/72 L Virginia Tech 62-67 12/18/74 L Virginia Tech 71-72 12/18/76 L Washington State 66-67 12/18/82 W Arizona State 88-77 12/18/89 W Robert Morris 78-51 12/18/91 W @Santa Barbara 82(4)-75 12/18/93 L @North Carolina 68-81(2) 12/18/96 W Alabama State 81-40

Buckeyes Playing 7 of 8-Game Stretch at Home
After playing two of the first three games of the season away from home, the Buckeyes play seven of eight contests at Value City Arena. The only away game, the only true road contest of the non-conference season after a pair of neutral-site matchups, will be at No. 4 Pittsburgh Wednesday. Tennessee Tech (W, 71-64/Dec. 7) and Morehead State (W 74-60/Dec. 14) traveled to Columbus before the game against the Panthers. Ohio State then plays host to Seton Hall (Dec. 21), Radford (Dec. 23), Tennessee State (Dec. 28), Hampton (Dec. 30) and Louisville (Jan. 4). The Buckeyes open the Big Ten season at Michigan State Jan. 9.

O’Brien Names Captains
Seniors Brent Darby and Sean Connolly along with junior Zach Williams will serve as tri-captains for Ohio State in 2002-03. All three are serving their first full seasons as captains.

Darby on Preseason All-League Squad
Both the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball coaches and the league’s media selected Brent Darby to the Big Ten Preseason All-Conference Team. Darby joins Brian Cook (Illinois), Tom Coverdale (Indiana), Kirk Penney (Wisconsin) and Rick Rickert (Minnesota) on the preseason squad. The Buckeyes have had a preseason first team member in each of the last four seasons. Michael Redd made the team in 1998, Scoonie Penn and Redd in 1999, Ken Johnson in 2000 and Brian Brown in 2001.

Darby Closing on 1,000 Pts., Reaches 100 Made 3-pointers
Senior guard Brent Darby is sixth all-time in career 3-pointers made with 113 after knocking down five long-range attempts against Morehead State. He has averaged 41 made 3-pointers the last two seasons, which if he were to connect on 41 again as a senior, would put him fourth all time with 139 behind Scoonie Penn (153/1998-00), Neshaun Coleman (147/1996-99) and Jamie Skelton (144/1991-94). Darby also has 887 career points after scoring 30 against the Eagles. He has averaged 353 the last two years with a career-high of 409 as a junior. He is on pace to become Ohio State’s 41st player all-time to reach 1,000 career points. At least one player has reached 1,000 points in each of the last four years. Michael Redd (5th/1,879) and Jason Singleton (39th/1,022) reached 1,000 in 1999 followed by Scoonie Penn (34th/1,076) in 2000, Ken Johnson (36th/1,055) in 2001 and Brian Brown (19th/1,384) in 2002.

Buckeyes Seek 20th 20-Win Season
Jim O’Brien has guided the Buckeyes to 20-win seasons in each of the last four years. Another 20-victory campaign in 2002-03 would set an Ohio State record for consecutive seasons (5) with 20 or more wins. Only the 1960-1963 teams won more games over a four-year period (98) than O’Brien’s last four squads, which finished with 94 victories. Ohio State teams have won 20 or more games 19 times in 104 years of basketball.

Buckeyes Also On Big Ten Win Streak
Ohio State has won 11 or more games in Big Ten Conference play in each of the last four years, winning co-championships in 2000 and 2002, finishing second in 1999 and third in 2001. Only the 1960-64 teams, which won or shared a record five-consecutive Big Ten titles, had a more successful stretch in league play.

Opponent Experience Prevalent
The Buckeyes will play a total of 15 regular-season games against teams that participated in postseason competition in 2002. Ten games will be against NCAA tournament teams with the remaining five against National Invitation Tournament participants. Alabama and Duke provided NCAA tournament-tested opponents in two of the first three games of the season. When January rolls around, the Buckeyes will face a stretch of seven games against six opponents with 2002 postseason tournament experience. Three of those battles are against 2002 Big Ten Champions Indiana, twice, and Wisconsin. Another is against Michigan State, the 2002-03 preseason favorite win with the league title.

Sylvester Back Sooner Than Expected
When redshirt freshman Matt Sylvester underwent successful back surgery Aug. 7, he was expected to miss significant practice time while recuperating. He has progressed ahead of schedule and is participating in full practices with the Buckeyes. The 6-7 guard missed the majority of his freshman season with calf and back injuries. He was granted a medical redshirt year by the NCAA and will retain four years of eligibility at Ohio State. He made his first career start in the season opener against Coppin State. He has played in a five games to date for an average of just over 19 minutes a game.

Three Card Monte, LaMonta, Emonte
When Jim O’Brien looks down his bench this season, he’ll have a full compliment of Monte’s with assistant coach LaMonta (la-MON-tay) Stone, Monte (MON-tee) Mathis and junior guard Emonte (e-MON-tee) Jernigan. O’Brien also will have a trio of players, who use the same pronunciation but different spellings of the first name (SHAWN). Seniors Sean Connolly and Shaun Smith along with junior Shun Jenkins all pronounce their names the same.

O’Brien Selected for NCAA Committee
Jim O’Brien will serve as one of four NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches on the NCAA Basketball Issues Committee. O’Brien will serve for one year. Coaches and administrators on this committee will meet to discuss NCAA Division I men’s basketball issues.

Stockman, Sullinger Wait for 2003-04
A pair of Ohio natives will be on the bench during home games this season but will not dress, travel or play this season. Sophomore J.J. Sullinger and junior Tony Stockman transferred to Ohio State from Arkansas and Clemson, respectively, following the 2001-02 season. Both will practice with the Buckeyes this year and will begin their eligibility in 2003-04. Sullinger will have three years of eligibility with the Buckeyes. Stockman will have two.

Jernigan Familiar with Adjusting
Junior guard Emonte Jernigan knows how to adjust to new challenges as a student-athlete. He began his career as a junior college player before signing to play NCAA Division I basketball with Oregon State. After one season with the Beavers, Jernigan left to attend another junior college for the 2001-02 campaign. He did not play organized basketball last year and will have two seasons of eligibility at Ohio State. His season out of basketball last year allows him to play immediately at Ohio State without having to sit out following his transfer.

Nwankwo, Sherman Added to Roster
Jim O’Brien added a pair of walkons to the Ohio State men’s basketball roster in early November. Sophomore Ugo Nwankwo (OO-go WAN-kwo) and junior Nick Sherman, both guards, are eligible to practice and play for the Buckeyes this season. Nwankwo (6-2, 185) is a native of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Sherman (6-3, 190) is a Dayton, Ohio, native.

O’Brien Welcomes Changes in Staff
Paul Biancardi, a longtime assistant to Jim O’Brien both at Boston College and Ohio State, was promoted to associate head coach in the offseason. Bruce Parkhill, who held the spot for two seasons, returned to his native State College, Pa., to spend more time with his family. In addition to Biancardi’s new role, a couple other positions were filled over the summer. LaMonta Stone, who last coached at Eastern Michigan, accepted one of the assistant positions on O’Brien’s staff. Monte Mathis, who was a full-time assistant on an interim basis in 2001-02 was made a full-time assistant as well. Andy Murphy, who had been a volunteer helping with the video needs of the OSU program, took over that spot on a full-time basis this year.

Winning Percentage Soars for O’Brien in Last Four Seasons
Jim O’Brien has won nearly 72 percent of the games he’s coached at Ohio State after an 8-22 record in his first season with the Buckeyes. O’Brien is 96-37 (.722) in the 133 games following the 1997-98 campaign, his first in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won 20 or more games and advanced to the NCAA tournament in each of the last four seasons, while finishing in the Top 3 in the Big Ten regular season race all four years, winning a pair of Big Ten regular titles (2000 and 2002) and a claiming the Big Ten tournament crown (2002) once.

Value City Arena Serves Buckeyes Well
The Buckeyes began their fifth season in Value City Arena in the 2002-03 home opener against Coppin State. Ohio State is 61-8 (.884) in games played on the home floor since the building opened for the start of the 1998-99 campaign.

Buckeyes Play 104th Hoops Season, 91st in Big Ten Conference
Ohio State has a record of 82-22 (.788) in season-opening games over the 104 years of men’s basketball at OSU. The Buckeyes are 86-18 (.827) in home openers and 49-54 (.476) in road/neutral openers. Ohio State did not play a road game in 1900-01. This is the 91st season of Big Ten membership in men’s basketball for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 50-40 (.556) in conference openers, 61-29 (.678) in league home openers and 34-56 (.378) in the first road game of the season in Big Ten play.