Freshman center Kosta Koufos and senior Jamar Butler were named to the 2008 MasterCard All-Tournament Team after the Buckeyes won its second NIT title in school history. Koufos was the event’s most outstanding player after leading the Buckeyes with 22 points while adding nine rebounds in the 92-85 win over UMass in the final.
Ohio State played in its third NIT title game in program history Thursday. The Buckeyes won the event in 1986 with a 73-63 win over Wyoming. Ohio State fell to Connecticut in the 1988 title game 72-67. Ohio State is 18-7 all-time in NIT games after the 92-85 victory over Massachusetts in the 2008 final.
Ohio State played four games at Madison Square Garden in 2007-08 in both the pre and postseason NIT events. The Buckeyes were 3-1 in those games with wins over Syracuse, Mississippi and UMass and a loss to Texas A&M. Kosta Koufos averaged a team high 18 points while adding 7.5 rebounds a game. Three others averaged 10 or more points offensively while Othello Hunter led the way with 8.0 rebounds and 10 total blocks. Evan Turner shot 64 percent from the field (14-22) and averaged 11.5 points a game.
Thad Matta led the Buckeyes to a 24-13 record this season after a 35-4 mark a year ago. The record of 59-17 is the most games (76) played over a two-year span in school history. It’s also the most wins over consecutive years.
Senior Jamar Butler knocked down 3 of 6 3-point attempts to give him 104 made treys on the year. That total is the school record for makes in a season and marks the first time a Buckeye made 100+ 3s in a season.
Freshman Kosta Koufos reached 500 points for the season with a 16-point effort vs. Mississippi in the semifinal round of the NIT. He and Butler both accomplished the feat this season. Koufos is the 26th Ohio State player to reach 500 points in a season (534). Those 26 players have combined for 38 seasons with 500 or more points all-time in Ohio State history.
Two players have reached 500 or more points in a season seven times in Ohio State history. Bill Hosket (584) and Steve Howell were the first tandem to do so in the 1967-68 season. Scoonie Penn (609) and Michael Redd (709) were the last to do so in 1998-99.
The Buckeyes are 17-3 this season when leading at the half and 21-0 when leading at the 5:00 mark of the second half. With 81 points vs. Mississippi, Ohio State is 14-1 this season when scoring 70 or more points.
Butler and classmate Matt Terwilliger won 105 games over their Ohio State careers, the most of any four-year senior class in Ohio State history.
Ohio State is 31-13 all-time vs. teams representing the Atlantic 10 Conference, which includes the 74-63 victory over Dayton March 26 in the third round of the NIT and the title victory over UMass. Ohio State is 1-0 vs. UMass.
A total of 19 teams on the 2007-08 Ohio State schedule qualified for postseason competition. Ohio State is 12-11 vs. teams who made the postseason (8-1 vs. NIT teams and 4-10 vs. NCAA qualifiers).
Butler’s 17 points give him a career total of 1,313. He passed Clark Kellogg (1,285) to take over the No. 23 spot on the Ohio State all-time scoring list in New York.
Butler has played in an Ohio State record 139 games … his 117 games started is No. 4 all time at Ohio State.Butler ended his career with a streak of 23-consecutive made foul shots. He owns the school record with 38-consecutive makes, which he accomplished earlier this season. Butler’s 579 career assists are a school record. His 219 helpers this season is second only to Mike Conley’s 238 in 2006-07 … with 242 career made 3-pointers after three makes vs. UMass, Butler added to his Ohio State record total for made 3s in a career.
Thad Matta improved his career record to 207-66 in eight seasons as a head coach … he is 105-35 in four years at Ohio State … in postseason competition, Matta is 17-6 with a 12-6 record in NCAA tournament play and a 5-0 mark in the NIT.
Five Buckeyes averaged double figures offensively over the five postseason NIT games. Butler (18.2 ppg.) and Koufos (17.8 ppg.) led the way with Othello Hunter (11.6 ppg.), David Lighty (10.8 ppg.) and Evan Turner (10.6 ppg.) also in double figures. Hunter is the top Ohio State rebounder with 8.0 rebounds per game. Hunter had 12 blocks in the tournament as well.
Koufos shot 66 percent from the field (40-61) in the NIT and contributed 6.2 rebounds a game. He also had eight blocks.
Lighty and freshman Evan Turner each had 12 steals in the NIT with Lighty adding 17 assists, second only to Butler’s 30 helpers over the last five games of the season. Turner also had 17 assists in the event.
As a team, Ohio State averaged 81 points a game in NIT competition while opponents were held to 67.8 ppg. The Buckeyes shoot 52 percent from the field (156-300) and lead in assists (87-68), blocks (34-12) and steals (42-32).
Ohio State is 2-1 all-time in the month of April with the win over Massachusetts. The Buckeyes fell to Florida in the NCAA title game April 2, 2007 in Atlanta and won a pair of games this April to win the 2008 NIT title.