Buckeyes Find St. John To Their Liking

Ohio State connected on a school-record 17 three-pointers in an 84-67 win over Chattanooga Saturday in the school's first game at St. John Arena in 6-1/2 years. J.J. Sullinger led the Buckeyes with 21 points.

Ohio State proved Saturday night that you can go home again.

The Buckeyes played their first game in historic St. John Arena since February 1998 and cruised to a 84-67 win over Chattanooga before an enthusiastic crowd of 11,568.

The game was moved from Value City Arena due to a scheduling conflict with the Sesame Street Live show. St. John Arena was home to Ohio State men's basketball from 1956-98.

The Buckeyes found the rims at SJA to their liking as they set a new school single game record with 17 three-point baskets. OSU was 17 of 35 (48.6 percent) from behind the arc. The previous OSU single game record was 13 made three-pointers. OSU's 35 attempts were also a record, breaking the previous mark of 30.

"I thought tonight, obviously, we shot the ball well," OSU coach Thad Matta said. "We felt going into the game that they would play some zone and that was a scary feeling. We just wanted them to play hard and we would make adjustments as we went and as we got a feel for what they were doing.

"When they were trapping the way they were we were effective finding the open man."

Matta acknowledged the enthusiastic crowd, but hesitated when asked if he'd like to see future games moved from VCA to SJA.

"I'm a guy of ritual and our ritual was thrown off tonight … in a good way," Matta said, laughing. "But the vision we have for this program is to take this crowd and move there and add 6,000 more people to it. We know that may be a while, but that is the vision we have for the future of Ohio State basketball."

J.J. Sullinger led the Buckeyes (5-1) with 21 points. He was 7 of 9 from the floor, including 4 of 5 on three-pointers.

"We got off to a good start," Sullinger said. "It was good to get in here where there is a lot of tradition. This is a great place. But we're excited to get back to the Schott. That's our home court."

Ivan Harris added 17 points, making all five of his three-point tries in the second half to end up 5 of 7 from behind the arc.

"I got in that corner and just felt comfortable," Harris said. "I just set my feet and let it loose."

Tony Stockman was 4 of 9 on three-pointers to finish with 16 points. Terence Dials added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Je'Kel Foster was 3 of 5 on three-pointers to end up with nine points.

Chris Brown led UTC (1-1) with 12 points, while Mindaugas Katelynas had 10 points.

"It was a great opportunity for us, but they made shots," said first-year UTC coach John Shulman. "They defend. We threw a punch at them and they came back at us."

Shulman put in his plug for OSU to move back to its former home.

"They need to keep playing in here," Shulman said. "We were very fortunate to play in an unbelievable setting like this. I was an assistant at Tennessee Tech and we played in that place (Value City Arena) and we've played here.

"This is hot and nasty and loud. It's what college basketball is supposed to be about."

Chattanooga scored the game's first five points before OSU reeled off 13 straight. Stockman hit a pair of three-pointers and Sullinger made one during this stretch. Chattanooga rallied with a 13-3 run, keyed by a pair of treys from Ricky Hood, to grab a 20-18 lead with 11:13 left in the first half.

OSU answered with 10 straight points, including three-pointers from Matt Sylvester and Sullinger, to go up 28-20 with 7:25 left in the half.

After UTC got the lead down to 28-24, Ohio State closed the half with a 15-9 advantage. Foster nailed a pair of three-pointers, but the capper was Sullinger's trey from high on the right wing with just two-tenths of a second left to put the Buckeyes up 43-33 at the half.

OSU came out of the half blazing on a 14-5, fueled by two three-pointers by Foster, one from Stockman and one from Harris, to put the Buckeyes up 57-38 with 16:26 left in the game.

The lead moved out to 21 at 64-43 on Stockman's steal and layup with 11:12 left.

After going 10 minutes without a made three-pointer, Harris hit OSU's 14th for the night – and a record setter – to put the Buckeyes back up 70-54 with 6:22 left.

Harris then rained in two more and Stockman hit another as OSU enjoyed its biggest lead at 82-60 with 2:58 left. Matta subbed out the starters after Sullinger had an emphatic one-handed jam with 1:33 left.

The previous mark of 13 made three-pointers was set in three different games – 2002 against Purdue, 2001 against Santa Clara and 1998 against Oakland. The previous mark for three-pointers attempted was 30 against Santa Clara in 2001.

The Buckeyes travel to Clemson Wednesday night for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game, set for a 7:30 p.m. start, will be televised by ESPN2. It will serve as a homecoming, of sorts, for Stockman who played two seasons at Clemson before transferring to OSU.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories