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No. 1-seed Ohio State (20-13, 10-8 Big Ten) 84, No.8-seed UNC Asheville (23-10, 10-4 Big South) 66
March 18, 2008
2008 MasterCard NIT First Round
Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 7,117

NEXT GAME: Monday in St. John Arena. Opponent and time to be determined.

Postgame Notes

  • With the win, head coach Thad Matta reached the 20-win mark for the eighth-consecutive season. He and Mark Few of Gonzaga are the only head coaches in NCAA Division I to reach 20 or more wins in each season as a head coach. Few has done it over his first nine seasons. Matta is the first OSU coach to win 20 or more games in each of his first four years and only the second head coach to reach the 20-win mark in four-consecutive years (1960-63; 25, 27, 26, 20, respectively). In his first three years, Matta won 20 games in 2005, 26 in 2006 and 35 in 2007.
  • Ohio State made its eighth NIT appearance since 1979 with the first-round game Tuesday. It was the first appearance for the Buckeyes since 2003, when they fell in the first round to Georgia Tech, 72-58 March 19 in Atlanta, Ga.
  • The game Tuesday was the second ever meeting between Ohio State and UNC Ashville. The teams previously met Dec. 4, 1993, in a 93-59 Ohio State victory in Columbus.
  • Ohio State is 7-0 against current members of the Big South Conference. It is the second victory this season against a Big South member, defeating VMI, 90-57, Nov. 25 at St. John Arena.
  • The Buckeyes have won 48-consecutive games against unranked opponents in Columbus (46 in Value City Arena, one in St. John Arena and one in Nationwide Arena). Their last loss to an unranked team was vs. Minnesota, Jan. 19, 2005 (60-56 OT).
  • Under Matta, OSU is 57-1 against unranked opponents in Columbus, including a 54-1 mark in VCA, 2-0 in St. John Arena and 1-0 in Nationwide Arena.
  • Ohio State is 10-1 this season and 65-10 all-time under Matta when scoring 70 or more points. The 84 points scored was the seventh time this season the Buckeyes scored 80 or more.
  • The Buckeyes made a season-high 36 field goals, shooting 36-of-64 for 56.3 percent. Ohio State is a perfect 11-0 when shooting .500 or better this season. UNC Asheville also made of 50 percent of its shots (51.9 percent; 27-of-52), just the second time this season a Buckeye opponent has shot 50 percent or better.
  • In 3-point shooting, Ohio State was 10-of-21 (47.6 percent), improving to 5-1 this year when hitting 10 or more treys.
  • With 5-of-10 3-point shooting, Jamar Butler set the Ohio State record for made 3-pointers in season with 91, passing the previous record of 88 by Scoonie Penn (1998-99 season).
  • Butler scored a team-high 21 points to move into 24th place all-time in the Ohio State records with 1,245 career points. He surpassed Larry Siegfried (1,228; 1959-61) and Ronnie Stokes (1,240; 1982-85). No. 23 on the list is Clark Kellogg (1980-82) with 1,285.
  • Butler has scored 20 or more points nine times this season, including three of the last four games.
  • Butler is the first Buckeye to score 20 or more points in a NIT game since Grady Mateen scored 20 in a second round matchup against Nebraska, March 20, 1989.
  • Butler recorded his fourth double-double of the season (21 points, 10 assists). It also was his fourth game with 10 or more assists.
  • Ohio State is 55-17 when Butler dishes out four or more assists.
  • Butler did not go to the free-throw line as his made FT streak remained at 22.
  • Butler had 10 assists for a total of 199 assists this season. With one more assist, he would be only the second Buckeye to have 200 assists in a season, along with Mike Conley Jr. (2006-07 season), who holds the record with 238.
  • Ohio State led 45-35 at the half to improve to 15-3 this season and 85-11 under Matta when leading at the half.
  • The Buckeyes forced UNC Asheville into 16 turnovers in the first half and capitalized with 22 points off those turnovers. The Bulldogs totaled 21 turnovers to Ohio State’s nine as the Buckeyes led 26-8 in points off turnovers.
  • With the Buckeyes leading 29-28 with 6:43 remaining in the first, they went on an 11-2 run during the next 2:55 to pull away for a 40-30 lead.
  • Freshman Kosta Koufos had double-digit points for the 15th time in the last 16 games.
  • Freshman Evan Turner had three steals to tie his career high for the fourth time this season.
  • Freshman Jon Diebler was 2-of-4 from beyond the arc to move his season total to 46, tying for second on the OSU freshman records with Michael Redd (1997-98 season) for made 3-pointers.
  • For the third-consecutive game, the Buckeyes had four players with double-digit points: Butler (21 points), Othello Hunter (16), Koufos (15) and David Lighty (13). Lighty scored all of his 13 points in the first half.