April 28, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 3/4-ranked Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (12-2, 3-1 B1G) wraps up the regular season at No. 12/13 Rutgers (9-4, 1-3 B1G) at noon Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.
The game will be streamed through the BTN Plus subscription service on BTN2Go online and for mobile devices.
Live stats and periodic ingame Twitter updates at @OhioState_MLAX, are also available.
In the B1G
• A win Saturday at Rutgers will give the Buckeyes a share of the Big Ten regular season title.
• Ohio State is 3-1 in conference play, with victories over Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Michigan.
• The Blue Jays and Terrapins are also 3-1 in B1G games and face off Saturday. The winner of that game will win at least a share of the Big Ten title.
• This marks the third year of men’s lacrosse as a Big Ten sponsored sport. Each of the six teams play a five-game conference schedule, with the top four in the final standings earning a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. The tournament winner earns the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tourney.
• Ohio State will host the 2017 Big Ten Tournament May 4 and 6 in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes, Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Penn State have all clinched spots in the tournament. Final seeding, matchups and game times will be determined after this weekend’s games.
In the Rankings
• Ohio State is ranked third in the USILA coaches poll and fourth in the Inside Lacrosse media and US Lacrosse Magazine rankings this week.
• Rutgers is ranked 12th by the coaches, 13th by the media and 16th in the US Lacrosse Magazine rankings.
• Five of the six Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 16 of all three polls, with four in the Top 10.
• Starting with Towson and Denver over spring break, the Buckeyes are in a stretch of seven of eight games against teams currently in the Top 20 in the USILA poll (current rankings): No. 2 Denver, No. 5 Maryland, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 8 Johns Hopkins, No. 10 Penn State, No. 12 Rutgers and No. 16 Towson. In the Inside Lacrosse rankings, seven teams are in the Top 20: Denver is No. 2, Maryland No. 5, Notre Dame No. 7, Johns Hopkins No. 8, Penn State No. 9, Rutgers No. 13 and Towson No. 19.
Last Time Out
• The Buckeyes remained unbeaten at home with an 11-10 overtime win over No. 2 Maryland Saturday in Ohio Stadium.
• The Buckeyes trailed 7-2 late in the second quarter but went on a six-goal run, while holding Maryland scoreless for more than 23 minutes, to push ahead late in the third. The teams were tied twice in the fourth quarter, with Maryland scoring the final two goals, but the Buckeyes prevailed in overtime.
• Buckeye senior Eric Fannell had a game-high and career-best five goals, while classmate Johnny Pearson scored twice, including the overtime winner. Senior Jake Withers won 18-of-25 faceoffs and picked up a game-high 10 groundballs, with junior Freddy Freibott picking up eight groundballs. Senior Tom Carey made 10 saves in the Buckeye cage. Seniors John Kelly, Tyler Pfister and JT Blubaugh also scored, with Kelly picking up an assist.
• Following the win, Fannell was named USILA National Offensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, Withers was B1G Specialist of the Week and the NCAA Player of the Week and Freibott was tabbed Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
Buckeyes vs. Scarlet Knights
• Ohio State and Rutgers have met nine times, with six of the games in New Jersey. Rutgers leads the series 7-2, with each team posting a win in Big Ten play.
• Last season, Ohio State defeated Rutgers 12-10 to close the Big Ten regular season schedule. Rutgers won the first B1G game between the teams 17-10 in 2015.
• Rutgers won the first six meetings before Ohio State posted an 11-9 win March 6, 1999 in the final matchup between the programs before becoming Big Ten foes.
• The first game was in the early 1950s in Piscataway, a 14-2 RU win. The teams then meet in 1992 and 1993, a 17-6 Rutgers win in Columbus and 23-7 RU victory in Piscataway. The squads faced off each year from 1996-99, with Rutgers winning the first three (11-8 and 17-6 in Piscataway, 10-3 in Columbus) before the Buckeyes posted their first win over the Scarlet Knights in 1999.
Ohio State vs. Rutgers in 2016
• After allowing an early goal to Rutgers, the Buckeyes tied the game and took the lead in the next 3:48 and never trailed again. Ohio State led 5-2 after 15 minutes and 8-4 at halftime. Rutgers drew within three (10-7) on a goal with one second left in the third quarter and made it a two-goal game for the first time since the first quarter early in the fourth. Ohio State answered to regain the three-goal lead and shortly after when Rutgers again made it a two-goal Buckeye lead. The final goal came from Rutgers with 5:50 remaining but the Buckeyes were able to hold off the Scarlet Knights and preserve the win.
• Johnny Pearson led the Buckeyes with four goals and five points, while JT Blubaugh had five points with a hat trick and two assists. Colin Chell notched a hat trick and Ryan Hunter also had a multiple point night with a goal and an assist. Jake Withers won 16 faceoffs and had a game-high seven groundballs. Goalie Tom Carey made nine saves, including four in the fourth quarter.
Scarlet Knight Synopsis
• No. 13/12 Rutgers enters Saturday’s contest with a 9-4 record on the season and a 1-3 ledger in the B1G. The squad dropped its most recent contest 13-7 on the road at Penn State last weekend.
• The Scarlet Knights are scoring 11.69 goals per game while allowing 8.62 per contest. The team is averaging 40.4 shots per contest while allowing 34.4. Their man-up unit is 8-for-32 (.250) while their man-down defense is 10-for-37 (.730). The squad is averaging the second-most caused turnovers per game nationally with 10.08.
• Kieran Mullins is leading the team in goals (32) and points (48), while Jules Heningburg is first with 24 assists. Connor Murphy has added 24 goals and 36 points.
• Joe Francisco has gone 150-for-259 (.579) on faceoffs and leads the team with 82 groundballs. Goalie Max Edlemann is allowing 8.79 goals per contest and holds a .538 save percentage, both ranking second in the B1G.
Just the Stats … Buckeyes among NCAA Leaders
• Ohio State is averaging 11.64 goals a game and is holding opponents to 7.64 an outing, ranking fourth nationally in scoring defense.
• Ohio State is third nationally and first in the Big Ten in faceoff winning percentage (.650).
• The squad is eighth in man-up offense (.478), converting 22-of-46 chances, ranking second in the league.
• Senior Tom Carey is 9-2 in goal and ranks third in the NCAA with a 7.35 goals-against average and is ninth with a .566 save percentage.
• Senior Jake Withers has won 182-of-265 faceoffs (.687), ranking first in the Big Ten and third nationally in faceoff winning percentage, and is first on the team with 101 groundballs, a mark that is second in the Big Ten and 10th nationally in groundballs per game (7.21).
• Senior Eric Fannell has a team-best 20 assists and 44 points, ranking fifth in the league in assists per game (1.54) and seventh in points per game (3.38). He is second on the team with 24 goals, standing 10th in the B1G with 2.0 goals a game.
• Freshman Tre Leclaire is first with 28 goals, ranking sixth in the B1G with 2.0 goals a game. He has 39 points to rank second on the squad.
• Senior Johnny Pearson is third with 20 goals and ranks fourth with 25 points. Junior Colin Chell is tied with Leclaire for second with 11 assists each and is third with 26 points on the year.
• Erik Evans is first for the Buckeyes with 13 caused turnovers, followed by Ben Randall with eight and Jeff Henrick with seven. Freibott is second with 40 groundballs, followed by Randall with 32.
• In Big Ten games only, Ohio State leads the league in goals allowed per game (8.72), save percentage (.557), groundballs per game (31.8), shooting percentage (.343) and faceoff winning percentage (.742).
• Fannell is tied for fourth with 10 goals in B1G play and tied for sixth with 13 points in league action. Leclaire is tied for sixth with five assists in conference play and Chell is tied for eighth with four helpers. Withers leads the league with a .769 faceoff winning percentage (70-of-91), 38 groundballs and 9.5 groundballs a game (more than 3.0 a game higher than the No. 2 player). Carey is first with an 8.93 goals-against average .
Withers a Top 25 Tewaaraton Nominee, Among NCAA’s Best in Faceoff and Groundballs
• Senior Jake Withers was named one of 25 nominees for the Tewaaraton Award Friday. He was tabbed the NCAA Player of the Week and the Big Ten Specialist of the Week for his performance against Maryland earlier this week.
• Withers is first in the B1G and third nationally in faceoff winning percentage this year, winning 182-of-265 (.769) draws. He is second among B1G players with 7.21 groundballs a game, ranking 10th nationally.
• In Big Ten games, Withers has won 70-of-91 draws (.769), taking all but six of the Buckeyes’ faceoffs. He has 38 groundballs in the four league games combined for a B1G-best 9.5 per game. Last season, he won 67-of-106 (.632) draws in B1G games to lead the conference and was first with 6.4 groundballs a game. He was the 2016 Big Ten Specialist of the Year and was a First Team All-Big Ten selection.
• Withers has won 18 or more faceoffs in each of his last three games, going 19-7 vs. Johns Hopkins, 20-3 at Michigan and 18-7 vs. Maryland. The 20 and 19 wins are the top two faceoff totals by a Buckeye in a single game since at least 2000.
• He had a career-high 11 groundballs vs. the Wolverines and 10 vs. both the Blue Jays and Terps. The 11 were the most for a Buckeye in a single game since at least 2000 and he has five of the six 10-groundball games since that time.
• Withers set the Buckeye record for career groundballs vs. Cleveland State March 11, picking up groundball No. 239. He passed Anthony Kelly, who had 238 from 2000-03. Withers now has 293 as a Buckeye. This season, Withers has a team-best 101 groundballs, just short of the career-high 110 he had a season ago.
• Withers has won 521-of-872 career faceoffs, with a .597 winning percentage to lead Buckeyes since at least 2000. He is first in faceoff wins since that time, passing Kelly who had 480, with win 500 coming at Michigan April 15.
• Withers also has a career-high three goals, five assists (the first of his career) and eight points this season. He scored twice against the Wolverines and had two helpers vs. Bellarmine.
Fannell Earns B1G, USILA Honors After Five Goals vs. Maryland
• Senior Eric Fannell, after a career-high five goals in the win over Maryland Saturday, was named the USILA National Offensive Player of the Week and the B1G Offensive Player of the Week.
• Fannell leads the Buckeyes with 20 assists and 44 points and is second with 24 goals (all career highs), ranking in the Top 10 in the Big Ten in goals, assists and points per game.
• Fannell’s five-goal outing followed his then-career-high four-goal outing at Michigan.
• He has multiple points in nine of the 13 games he has played, including a hat trick and four assists for a career-high seven points vs. Denver, six points at Michigan and three five-point games.
• Fannell has a point in all but one of the games he has played this year and has a goal in all but two outings.
Carey in the Cage
• Redshirt senior goalie Tom Carey is third in the NCAA and first in the Big Ten with a 7.35 goals-against average. He has allowed seven or fewer goals in seven of his 12 starts this year and has five games with 10 or more saves, including 12 at Penn State and 13 at Michigan. He made 10 stops in the win over Maryland Saturday.
• He is ninth in the NCAA with a career-best .566 save percentage this season.
• In his Buckeye career, Carey has 425 saves and an 8.65 goals-against average in 46 games played (all starts). He is just outside the Top 10 among Buckeye goalies in career saves, seven behind John Baker, who had 432 from 1989-92.