Feb. 21, 2007

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s basketball team improved to 25-3 overall and 13-1 in the Big Ten Wednesday after a 68-60 win over Penn State (10-16, 1-12) at Value City Arena. The win gives the Buckeyes a school-record 17 home victories this season.

Freshman Greg Oden led the Buckeyes with his ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds while junior guard Jamar Butler tied his season high with 18 points. Freshman Daequan Cook added 12 points while senior Ron Lewis added 11 for the Buckeyes, who lead the Big Ten with two games to play in the regular season.

Ohio State trailed at the half for just the third time this season (27-24) but was able to take the lead for good with seven minutes to play on a Mike Conley Jr. layup that put the Buckeyes on top 47-45.

Conley recorded 10 assists for the sixth time this season to push his season total to 183, just five behind the Ohio State single-season record of 188 set in 1988 by Curtis Wilson. The six games with double digit assists is an OSU single season record as well.

Penn State was led by Geary Claxton’s 15 points and eight rebounds. Nittany Lion sophomore and Columbus native Jamelle Cornley scored seven points and had eight rebounds.

The win set up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup Sunday in Columbus (4 p.m./CBS). Wisconsin (26-3, 12-2) is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 2 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll. The Buckeyes are No. 1 in the coaches’ poll and No. 2 in the AP rankings.

Ohio State is no stranger when it comes to facing the top-rated team in the country. The Buckeyes are 7-9 all-time when taking on the nation’s best, which includes wins in five of the last six opportunities vs. No. 1. The last time an Ohio State team took on the No. 1 team in the land was in the 2005 home finale against No. 1 and previously unbeaten Illinois. The Buckeyes prevailed as an unranked team in that game 65-64. Ohio State is 50-4 all-time when ranked No. 1 with a 49-3 record as the AP No. 1 team and a 1-1 record as the coaches’ poll leader.

Ohio State has won 11-consecutive games in Big Ten play. The league win streak is the longest since 1962. A win vs. Wisconsin Sunday would tie the 2006-07 team for victories in league play with a 12-game streak in 1962. Ohio State was 13-1 in conference play that season, winning the Big Ten title and advancing to the NCAA title game, where it lost to Cincinnati 71-59. The Buckeyes have won 10-consecutive regular-season league games six times in history.

The Ohio State men’s basketball program will recognize four seniors prior to the start of the game vs. the Badgers. Ivan Harris, a four-year letterwinner from Springfield, Ohio, Lewis, a Columbus native with a three-year tenure on the Buckeyes’ roster and managers Ty Shepher and Alan Stuker all will be making their final appearances at Value City Arena on the Ohio State bench.

Harris leaves Ohio State as one of its all-time best 3-point shooters. With 117 made 3-pointers over his 116-game career, Harris ranks No. 9 in history in 3-pointers made as a Buckeye. His .395 long range shooting percentage (117-296) rates No. 4 all-time. During his career, Harris has been a part of 85 Ohio State victories, which includes 56 wins here at Value City Arena.

Lewis started elsewhere but finished at home. The Columbus Brookhaven alum started his career at Bowling Green University but has spent the last three years at Ohio State where he has been a mainstay in the lineup the last two years after sitting out the 2004-05 season. Lewis has scored 1,555 career points in 120 games, 60 each with the Falcons and Buckeyes. His ability to score in a variety of ways has helped the Buckeyes to 51 victories the last two years to go along with the 2006 outright Big Ten title and a home record of 33-1 at Value City Arena.