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Jan. 5, 2001

Game Notes in .PDF format

Opponent: No. 9 Illinois
Site: Assembly Hall (16,450)
Game Time: 8 p.m. (EST)
TV: ESPN Plus
Local TV: WBNS 10 TV
TV Talent: Jim Barbar (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 (10-3, 1-0)

G 4-Brent Darby, 6-1, So.
G 21-Boban Savovic, 6-5, Jr.
G 13-Brian Brown, 6-4, Jr.
C 32-Ken Johnson, 6-11, Sr.
F 33-Zach Williams, 6-7, Fr.

No. 9 Illinois Fighting Illini
Probable Starters (11-3, 1-0)

G 30-Frank Williams, 6-3, So.
G 13-Cory Bradford, 6-3, Jr.
C 52-Marcus Griffin, 6-9, Sr.
F 34-Brian Cook, 6-10, So.
F 40-Sergio McClain, 6-4, Sr.

OSU 49-40 in Big Ten openers, 57-32 in home conference openers
Ohio State is in its 89th season as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Buckeyes are 49-40 all-time in league openers following the win over Northwestern Wednesday. OSU has begun the conference season at home 53 times (34-19) and on the road 36 times (15-21). Overall, Ohio State has a record of 57-32 in home league openers.

Darby provides offense, Johnson defense in win over Northwestern
Brent Darby scored a career-high 21 points and Ken Johnson set the tone on defense as Ohio State beat Northwestern 73-56 in the Big Ten opener for both teams. Darby hit 3-of-5 3-pointers and added five assists. Saddled with two early fouls, Johnson sat out the last 15 minutes of the first half. But he had eight points and five blocked shots in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the second half as Ohio State padded its lead. Johnson ended up with 12 points, six rebounds and six blocks in just 20 minutes. Brian Brown added 11 points for the Buckeyes. Winston Blake scored 22 points – hitting 4-of-7 3-pointers – while Aaron Jennings added 12 points and Tavaras Hardy had 11 for Northwestern, which lost its third in a row in first-year coach Bill Carmody’s Big Ten debut. The Wildcats got as close as 46-32 on Blake’s jumper at the 13:28 mark but Johnson started to attack the basket at both ends of the court. He blocked three shots in the span of 2 minutes. At the other end, he brought the crowd of 18,108 to its feet with a reverse dunk off a pass from Sean Connolly with 12:34 left that made it 53-32. The Wildcats never got closer than the final margin again.

Noting the win over Northwestern

Ohio State improves to 38-4 during its two-plus seasons atValue City Arena. The Buckeyes improve to 9-1 at home this season.Ohio State is in its 89th season as a member of the Big TenConference. The Buckeyes are 49-40 all-time in league openers. OSUhas begun the conference season at home 53 times (34-19) and on theroad 36 times (15-21). Overall, Ohio State has a record of 57-32 inhome league openers. The Buckeyes have won the last four meetingswith Northwestern and eight of the last 10 contests. In Columbus,Ohio State has a 22-game win streak over the Wildcats. The last NUwin in Columbus came Feb. 24, 1977 when Northwestern prevailed83-72. The Buckeyes are 59-14 at home vs. NU and hold a 98-44all-time series lead. The 98 wins are by far the most for OhioState against any Big Ten opponent. OSU has 78 wins over Wisconsinand Michigan. The Buckeyes have connected on 50 percent of theirshots in seven games this season, including five of the last sixgames. The Buckeyes hit on 29 of 55 (.527) from the field OhioState’s 73 points are the most allowed by the Northwestern defensethis season. The previous high was 67, set by Kent State and Ionain back-to-back games at the San Juan Shootout. Northwestern camein as the top-ranked defense in the Big Ten, holding opponents to55.6 points per game. OSU was second in the league at 56 points pergame. Brent Darby scored a career-high 21 points, topping hisprevious high of 18, set vs. Florida State in the Great AlaskaShootout earlier this season (11/17/00). It marked his fourth gamethis season in double figures. Ohio State is undefeated in theseven contests Darby in which has scored in double figures duringhis career. Darby’s 21-point performance marked the second timethis season a Buckeye scored more than 20. Brian Brown also brokethe 20-point barrier with a 23-point output vs. Florida State Darbyalso tied a career high with five assists. It matches his high offive, set vs. Florida State (11/17). Ken Johnson blocked six shotsin the contest, giving him 378 for his career – second all-time inthe Big Ten Conference. Johnson is shooting for the all-time BigTen shot-blocking crown, held by Penn State’s Calvin Booth with428. Johnson started his 105th career game tonight, tying him forsixth place on the all-time OSU starts chart with Jim Smith(1978-81). Johnson stands six starts behind fifth-place KelvinRansey (111, 1977-80). Johnson is one of eight players in OhioState history to eclipse 100 starts in his Buckeye career. WillDudley filled in well in the first half while Ken Johnson was infoul trouble, grabbing all of his season-high six rebounds in thefirst 20 minutes of the game. Ohio State extended its streak ofconsecutive games with at least one 3-point goal made when BrentDarby canned a shot from behind the arc in the first minute of thefirst half. Ohio State has connected on at least one 3-point goalin 263-consecutive games. Ohio State has not lost this season whenout-rebounding its opponent and when leading at the half. TheBuckeyes out-rebounded Northwestern 40-31 and led at the half33-20. Ohio State has held 7-of-10 foes to 20 or less points in thefirst half of games played at Value City Arena this season. TheBuckeyes held Northwestern to 20 points in the first half. OhioState sophomore Sean Connolly and junior Brian Brown have eachconnected on at least one 3-point field goal attempt in 12 of 13games this season. Winston Blake scored a career-high 22 points inthe defeat for Northwestern. His previous best was 18, last set vs.St. Peter’s (12/13/00). Ohio State encounters its first conferenceroad game of the season on Saturday, traveling to No. 9/8 Illinoisfor an 8 p.m. contest at Assembly Hall. The Buckeyes return homeWednesday, Jan. 10 against Penn State.

Visitors struggle to win at VCA
Ohio State as lost just four home games in the 3-year history of Value City Arena. The Buckeyes have a combined record of 38-4 all time at the VCA following the win over Northwestern. In the four home losses, no team has won by more than three points. The Buckeyes have lost by an average of 2.3 points in the four games. Iowa owns two of the wins over OSU at VCA. The Hawkeyes won 71-68 Jan. 12, 1999 and 67-64 Feb. 9, 2000. Notre Dame gave OSU a 59-57 defeat to start the season last year Nov. 16, 1999.

Brown earns Big Ten honor
Ohio State junior guard Brian Brown was selected the co-Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after he led a group of five OSU players who averaged double figures last week in wins over St. John’s and Morehead State at Value City Arena. It is Brown’s first Big Ten Player of the Week award as a member of the Buckeyes. Brown paced Ohio State with a 14.0 scoring average, which included game-high scoring honors (18 pts.) in the 71-58 home win over St. John’s. Brown connected on 65 percent of his shots from the field (11-17) last week while averaging 5.5 assists and 2.0 steals. Brown shared honors with senior Roy Boone of Wisconsin.

O’Brien reaches career win No. 300
Jim O’Brien earned career win No. 300 as a collegiate head coach with the 93-62 win over Morehead St. (12/16/00). O’Brien is 303-258 (.540) in 19 seasons as a head coach. He has a record of 68-41 (.624), including a record of 60-19 (.759) over the last three seasons with the Buckeyes. O’Brien spent 11 seasons at his alma mater, Boston College. His teams compiled a record of 168-166 record with six postseason appearances, including three trips to the NCAA Tournament in his last four years. O’Brien started his career at St. Bonaventure, where in four seasons, his teams posted a record of 67-51 (.568). His 100th career win came against Maine Dec. 6, 1988 (87-59) with No. 200 coming against Hartford Dec. 23, 1995 (106-67). O’Brien won both those games at Boston College.

Homestand longest since 1910
Ohio State ended a nine-game homestand vs. Northwestern and is in a span of 12 home games in 13 outings. The homestand began vs. Eastern Kentucky (W 90-44, 12/2/00). The Buckeyes then hosted Denver (W 83-46, 12/7/00), Massachusetts (W 54-51, 12/10/00), St. John’s (W 71-58, 12/13/00), Morehead State (W 93-62, 12/16/00), Robert Morris (W 99-46, 12/20/00), No. 9 Kansas (L 69-68, 12/23/00), Coppin State (W 80-42, 12/30/00) and Northwestern (1/3/01). The last time Ohio State hosted nine-consecutive games was at the start of the 1910 season when OSU played at home for the first 10 games of the season in an 11-1 campaign. The Buckeyes were 9-1 in that homestand. The Buckeyes finished 8-1 in the most recent home streak.

Ohio State to host NCAA Tournament 1st, 2nd rounds in 2004
The Ohio State Department of Athletics, along with Nationwide Arena and the Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau, has been selected to host the 2004 National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds, the NCAA announced Dec. 7. Ohio State will serve as the host institution for the 2004 Midwest Region early round contests. The games will be played at Nationwide Arena March 19 and 21, 2004.

Johnson, No. 1 in Big Ten
Ohio State senior Ken Johnson holds the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten with an average of 4.54 blocks a game (59). Junior Brian Brown is No. 4 in steals (1.9).

Robinson out indefinitely
Doylan Robinson (Akron, Ohio/Buchtel), a junior guard, will be out indefinitely recovering from injuries sustained as a passenger in a traffic accident Sunday, Dec. 3, 2000. Robinson suffered several lacerations to his face and right hand. He is expected to recover fully. Robinson has played in five games to date for the Buckeyes. He is averaging 2.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in 8.4 minutes a game.

Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in defense
Ohio State rates No. 1 among Big Ten teams in blocked shots (5.46), field goal percentage defense (.365) and scoring defense (56.0 ppg.) and No. 3 in rebounding defense, allowing foes just 30.5 rebounds a game. The Ohio State offense is No. 2 in scoring margin (+19.8), turnover margin (+3.77) and 3-point field goal percentage (.397). Ohio State is No. 3 in field goal percentage (.484, 351-725).

Johnson No. 1 on OSU career swat chart
Ken Johnson has 59 blocks on the season for a career total of 379, which places him first all-time at Ohio State in career rejections. Johnson passed Herb Williams (1978-81) at the Great Alaska Shootout in November. Johnson averaged 1.9 bpg. (58/30 gms.) as a freshman, 2.8 bpg. (100/36 gms.) as a sophomore and 5.37 bpg. (161/30 gms.) in 1999-00. He has an average of 4.50 blocks a game this season.

Johnson moving up career starts list
Ken Johnson has started 105 career games as a Buckeye since the 1997-98 season. He is one of only eight Buckeyes to reach 100 or more career starts. Currently tied for No. 6 all-time, Johnson will next overtake Kelvin Ransey (1977-80) at No. 5 with 111 starts.

Illini open Big Ten season with win over Minnesota
Illinois made a promise and kept it. After shooting 7-for-45 from 3-point range in their last two games, the Illini fed center Marcus Griffin for a career-high 27 points to start the Big Ten season with an 80-64 victory over Minnesota Wednesday . The Illini front line combined for 43 points. Frank Williams scored all 16 of his points in the second half and Brian Cook added 11 rebounds and six blocks for Illinois. The loss ended an eight-game winning streak and one of the best starts in school history for Minnesota (12-2), which got 21 points from Dusty Rychart but could not handle Illinois’ interior defense and rebounding. Griffin and Rychart starred in an otherwise sloppy first half, each scoring 13 points. Sean Harrington’s consecutive 3-pointers — the only ones Illinois made in the first half — gave the Illini an early 12-5 lead. But despite outrebounding the Gophers 22-12 and blocking seven shots, the Illini could not build on the advantage and led 29-27 at halftime. Cory Bradford hit a 3-pointer, extending his NCAA-record streak of making at least one 3-pointer to 78 straight games. There was bad news for Illinois. Starting forward Sergio McClain left in the first half, clutching his left ankle. Self said doctors called it a “bad sprain” and he expects McClain to miss at least one game.

Leading the Illini
Senior center Marcus Griffin leads the Illini in scoring with 15.7 ppg. He is followed by sophomore point guard Frank Williams’ 14.4 ppg. and sophomore forward Brian Cook’s 10.1 ppg. Griffin is the leading rebounder with 7.1 rpg. Williams leads in assists with 4.2 a contest.

Self in first year at Illinois
Illinois head coach Bill Self is in his eighth season as a collegiate head coach and his first at Illinois. He has a combined record of 141-83 and a 11-3 mark with the Illinois. Self spent four seasons at Oral Roberts, where he compiled a record of 56-53. He then coached at Tulsa from 1998-00. He won 74 games with 27 defeats before moving on to take over the Illinois program.

The Illinois series
Illinois leads the all-time series with the Buckeyes 94-56. Illinois has won 55 of 76 meetings in Champaign. The Buckeyes last won in Champaign Jan. 30, 1999 64-61. That win snapped an 11-game Illinois win streak. OSU has won twice in the last four meetings. The squads split last season with each team winning on its home floor. OSU lost the Big Ten opener for both schools last year (Jan. 6, 2000) in Champaign, 80-77 on a last second 3-point shot by freshman Frank Williams. The Buckeyes evened the season score with a 64-51 victory in Columbus Feb. 27, 2000.

The Buckeyes vs. Illinois
Brian Brown leads Buckeye returnees with an average of 8.0 points a game against Illinois. He has connected on 11 of 18 field goals for 61 percent accuracy. Ken Johnson, in five career games, has an average of 5.8 rebounds a contest while blocking 12 shots, including six last year in an OSU 64-51 win Feb. 27, 2000 in Columbus.

Leading the Buckeyes
Junior Brian Brown leads the Buckeyes offensively with a scoring average of 13.9 points per game. He leads the team in minutes played (31.9 mpg.). Sophomore Sean Connolly leads the team in 3-point field goals made (21-48, .438) while junior Boban Savovic leads in 3-point field goals shooting percentage (20-45, .444) and free throw shooting (24-31, .774). Ken Johnson is the team’s leading rebounder with 6.4 a game. He is the most accurate Buckeye from the field as well hitting 57 percent of his shots (55-97). Brown leads in assists with 59 and steals, 25.

OSU opponents fare well in polls
Seven 2000-01 Buckeye opponents are rated among the Top 25 in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. Another three are receiving votes. Michigan State (1/1), Kansas (7/7), Illinois (9/8), Wisconsin (12/12), Syracuse (14/13), Alabama (18/18) and Iowa (RV/23) are rated in the Top 25 in both polls. Penn State, Purdue and Minnesota all are receiving votes in at least one of the polls. Ohio State received two votes for Top 25 consideration in the latest AP poll (1/1/01).

Johnson closing on 400 career blocks, 2nd on Big Ten list
Buckeye senior Ken Johnson has 378 blocks in his career after swatting six vs. Northwestern. Johnson is second in Big Ten history in career blocks. Calvin Booth of Penn State (1995-99) is the next target at No. 1 with 428 career blocks.

Big Ten Career Blocked Shots leaders 1. Calvin Booth, PSU 1995-99 428 2. Ken Johnson, OSU 1998- 378 3. Acie Earl, IOWA 1989-93 365 4. Joe Barry Carroll, PUR 1977-80 349 5. Herb Williams, OSU 1977-81 328

Big Ten Season Blocked Shot leaders 1. Ken Johnson, OSU 1999-00 161 2. Calvin Booth, PSU 1997-98 140 3. Jim Pitts, NU 1965-66 123 4. Acie Earl, Iowa 1991-92 121 5. Acie Earl, Iowa 1990-91 106 6. Joe Barry Carroll, PUR 1977-78 105 7. Calvin Booth, PSU 1995-96 101 8. Ken Johnson, OSU 1998-99 100 9. Dean Garrett, IND 1987-88 99 10.Roy Tarpley, MICH 1985-86 97 Brad Sellers, OSU 1985-86 97

Johnson led nation in blocks, average fifth in NCAA
Ohio State center Ken Johnson led the Big Ten and the nation in blocks in 1999-00. Johnson sent back 5.37 shots per game with 161 blocks on the year. Johnson has the fifth highest block per game average in NCAA history. His total of 161 is the seventh most in a single season in NCAA history.

NCAA Single Season Blocks Avg. 1. #Adonal Foyle, Colgate 1997 6.43 2. #Keith Closs, C. Conn. St. 1996 6.36 3. #David Robinson, Navy 1986 5.91 4. Adonal Foyle, Colgate 1996 5.69 5. #Ken Johnson, OSU 2000 5.37 # Led nation in blocks.

Big Ten coaches, media select Johnson preseason First Team All-Big Ten
The Big Ten men’s basketball coaches and league media chose Ken Johnson (Sr., Detroit, Mich./Henry Ford) as a preseason First Team All-Big Ten selection. The announcement was made Oct. 30 at the annual Big Ten Men’s Basketball media day. Johnson joins Cory Bradford (Illinois), Charlie Bell (Michigan State), Kirk Haston (Indiana) and LaVell Blanchard (Michigan) on the squad selected by the coaches. The media selected the same squad with the exception of Haston. Joe Crispin of Penn State filled that spot. Johnson, who averaged nearly eight points, over six rebounds and 5.4 blocks a game last year as a junior, is the only senior on Ohio State’s squad this season.

A change in lineup
Ohio State used its second starting lineup of the season with sophomore Sean Connolly starting in place of sophomore Brent Darby against Eastern Kentucky. Darby had a slight knee sprain but did play vs. the Colonels. According to STATS Inc., Ohio State was among just six schools to use just one or two different starting lineups in 1999-00. Hawaii used the same starters all season. Ohio State, Southern Illinois, St. John’s, Vermont and Wofford used just two lineups in 1999-00.

2-year home record rates high at OSU
Ohio State has compiled a 38-4 (.905) record over three seasons in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes were 14-1 in the inaugural season in VCA (1998-99) and notched a 15-2 record at home in 1999-00. In back-to-back seasons in which the Buckeyes have won at least 25 combined home games, the OSU record from 1999-00 of 29-3 stands fourth all-time for home record in consecutive seasons. The 1962-63 teams posted a 25-0 record during a span of 50 home games in which the Buckeyes were undefeated from 1960-64.

Ohio State home record in back-to-back seasons Seasons 2-yr. home Rec. Win Pct. 1962-63 25-0 1.000 1991-92 30-1 .968 1990-91 27-2 .931 1999-00 29-3 .906 1985-86 26-5 .839 1982-83 25-5 .833 1986-87 26-7 .788 1985-86 26-5 .781

OSU 3-pt FG streak extended to 263
Ohio State has connected on at least one 3-point field goal attempt over the last 263 games. Brent Darby extended the streak in the first half against Northwestern (1/3/01). The last time an OSU team missed all attempts from 3-point range was Feb. 2, 1992 when the Buckeyes went 0 for 5 in a 68-58 OSU win over Michigan. Buckeye opponents have a streak of 255-consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer made. Michigan went 0-10 from long range March 3, 1992 in an OSU 75-66 victory, marking the last time an opponent was held without a 3-pointer.

OSU vs. the Big Ten
The Buckeyes opened the Big Ten season Jan. 3 at home against Northwestern. The Buckeyes have more victories over the Wildcats (98) than any other league school. Ohio State has 78 wins each over Michigan and Wisconsin. Illinois has the most wins over the Buckeyes with 94. This will be the 89th season of Big Ten play for Ohio State in men’s basketball.

Big Ten Series Records
Illinois 56-94
Indiana 66-92
Iowa 59-67
Michigan 78-67
Michigan State 44-51
Minnesota 69-50
Northwestern 98-44
Penn State 11-11
Purdue 67-77
Wisconsin 78-53
Totals 626-606

Johnson on watch list for Naismith Award
Ken Johnson, a senior on the Ohio State men’s basketball team, is among 30 preseason candidates for the 2000-01 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award. The Naismith Awards program, now in its 33rd year, honors the outstanding college basketball players in the United States. The program was founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an organization dedicated to recognizing the achievements of student-athletes in basketball. Charlie Bell (Michigan State), Cory Bradford (Illinois) and Mike Kelley (Wisconsin) also represent the Big Ten on the list.

Johnson helps Olympic team prepare for Gold in Sydney
Ken Johnson was selected as one of 12 collegiate players who gathered to practice against the 2000 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team last summer in Maui, Hawaii. Johnson was the only true center on the 2000 USA Basketball Men’s Select team and its tallest player at 6-feet 11-inches. The Select team scrimmaged the Olympic team each day during the week-long camp. The camp ended with a nationally-televised (NBC) contest Sept. 2 at the University of Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center.

Three student-athletes added for 2001-02 season
Jim O’Brien signed one of the best recruiting classes of his coaching tenure Nov. 8, the first day of the fall men’s basketball signing period.

Matt Sylvester (Loveland, Ohio/Moeller), Terence Dials (Youngstown, Ohio/Boardman) and Brandon Fuss-Cheatham (Beaver Falls, Pa./Blackhawk) all signed NCAA National Letters of Intent to play for Ohio State.

Sylvester, a 6-foot-7-inch, 200-pound wing forward, is considered to be among the top two players in Ohio. He is ranked by Prep Spotlight Magazine as one of the Top 60 players in the country. Sylvester played for the powerful Cincinnati AAU program. As a junior, he averaged 22.0 points and 8.0 rebounds. As a sophomore, Sylvester helped guide Carl Kremer’s Moeller squad to a Division I State Championship.

Dials, the second recruit from Ohio to sign with the Buckeyes, is a 6-foot-9-inch, 240-pound power forward/center. He gives the Buckeyes an athletic big man. As a junior, Dials averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and 4.0 blocks.

Fuss-Cheatham (6-1, 190) is the No. 1-ranked point guard in the Midwest by Vince Baldwin of Midwesthoops.com and the No. 6 nationally-ranked point guard. He also is considered a Top 30 all-around player in the high school class of 2001. He averaged 21.3 points, 4.5 assists, 4.0 steals and 3.1 rebounds as a junior. He shot 59 percent from the field (279-476) and 77 percent (123-160) from the free-throw line. He has been Blackhawk’s starting point guard since his freshman season. The Cougars are 85-11 during that time. Over the last two seasons, Blackhawk is 62-4 with two conference championships and a state title.