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Written by Dan Wismar

Dan Wismar
It was a big night for the Buckeye basketball team (4-0) last night, as they rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit with solid defense, outstanding shooting by Jon Diebler and clutch play by Evan Turner to upset the 22nd-ranked Miami Hurricanes 73-68, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Buckeye Dan hits on the win, as well as the BCS bowl prospects of the football team in his latest column for us. Ohio State rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit with solid defense, outstanding shooting by Jon Diebler and clutch play by Evan Turner to upset the 22nd-ranked Miami Hurricanes 73-68, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday night. 

The Buckeyes (4-0) won for just the second time in the series between the conferences in what was the first road game for Thad Matta's young squad, and their first against a ranked opponent. Ohio State fell behind early 16-4, and trailed 36-22 at the half, but Diebler got heated up from 3-point range in the second half, and the Buckeyes committed only one turnover after the break.

The Buckeyes got a boost when the Hurricanes' leading scorer Jack McClinton was ejected midway through the first half for taking a open-handed swing at OSU point guard Anthony Crater's face. McClinton had already scored 12 points in the game's first ten minutes. 

Diebler finished as the game's leading scorer with 20 points, and Turner had 19 more for the Bucks. It was Turner's layup that finally tied the game at 54, and Ohio State then built as much as a 5-point lead, and held off the Canes down the stretch. 

Freshman center B.J. Mullens led the Bucks with nine rebounds, and chipped in with five points. Turner, the sophomore swingman from Chicago, had an impressive floor game overall, with six rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots to go along with his 19 points.

Early in the game it looked like Miami would build on the impressive 33-4 home record for ACC teams over the history of the Challenge. McClinton was 4 for 4 on 3's before his ejection, while the Buckeyes were digging a hole by missing their first six 3-point attempts. Ohio State would finish the game shooting just 36% (9 of 25) from 3-point range, a percentage dragged down by David Lighty's 0 for 6 from long range. 

The game seemed to swing on the tenacious defense played by Matta's troops, and Miami's offensive struggles with their star shooter in the locker room. Ohio State took care of the ball in the second half, and forced the Hurricanes into numerous turnovers with their full-court press on for much of the game. 

Coming into this game, Ohio State had registered just one victory in the annual series, beating Virginia Tech in Columbus with the 2005-06 team that won the outright Big Ten championship. The Big Ten has never won the series since its inception. 

After early home wins over 
Delaware StateBowling Green  and Samford, the schedule turns rugged for Matta's kids with the Miami road game and then the Dec. 6th match-up at No. 8 Notre Dame. A home game against Butler follows on December 13th, the first of six straight home games for OSU leading into the conference schedule. Box Score


Loose Leaves

-- Jim Tressel's Buckeye football team got one step closer to a BCS Bowl invitation Saturday, when 
Oregon beat Oregon State, putting USC into the Rose Bowl (assuming a win over UCLA) and eliminating the Cinderella Beavers (that came out wrong) from BCS contention. 

-- The Big Ten Conference 
announced its All-Big Ten teams for the 2008 season, as voted by the coaches and by the writers. Buckeye linebacker James Laurinaitis was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, and Malcolm Jenkins was a unanimous selection as a first-teamer at cornerback in the voting by the coaches. Laurinaitis was a unanimous pick for the first team by the media voters.

Alex Boone made All-Big Ten first team in both polls at offensive tackle. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was selected by both the writers and the coaches as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. 

OSU's Chris Wells and Marcus Freeman were named to the second team in both polls, and the media voters also selected Buckeye safety Kurt Coleman to the second team.

Final 2008 Big Ten Individual and Team Statistics

-- In football recruiting news, Ohio State has extended a scholarship offer (for 2010) to St. Ignatius junior linebacker Scott McVey shortly after his dominating performance in the Division I playoffs for the Wildcats. McVey had five sacks and an interception in the championship game victory over Cincinnati Elder, and was by consensus the best player on the field. McVey is already on record as saying it would be hard to say no to Ohio State if he were to receive an offer. 

The Buckeyes' 
Class of 2009  is still looking very strong, and Coach Tressel and the staff are hoping to finish it off with commitments from Glenville offensive tackle Marcus Hall, Arizona defensive lineman Corey Adams, and Tennessee wide receiver Marlon Brown.  Landing all three 5-star talents would be a coup for Tressel, and any one of them would probably cement a Top 5 ranking nationally for this recruiting class for OSU.

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