No. 2 Buckeyes roll past Texas-Pan American 64-35
Despite trailing 31-14 at halftime, the deficit was less than No. 3 Duke faced in an 85-63 loss to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.
“I was kidding with our guys at halftime that at least we know we’re a little bit better than Duke, as they were down 19 points at the half and we were only down 17,” he said. “Obviously, it was a unique experience for our players to play in a game of this nature.”
Jared Maree led the Broncs with 13 points.
His Broncs (2-7) couldn’t capitalize on the absence of Buckeyes’ star Jared Sullinger, who is sidelined with a back injury. Marks said he was disappointed that Sullinger was not in the lineup.
“I think it was some mixed emotions because I think a lot of our guys would have like to say `Hey I played against that guy,’ two or three years down the road,” he said.
Sullinger’s team-leading 19.1 points per game and 10.3 rebounds were not missed. Evan Ravenel took Sullinger’s spot and, at 6-feet-8, was two inches taller than any Broncs starter.
He promptly won the opening tip, but swatted the ball out of bounds underneath the UTPA basket. However, the Broncs were forced to call a timeout four seconds into the game when they were unable to complete the inbounds play to set the tone for the game.
Ravenel, a transfer from Boston College in his first season with the Buckeyes (8-0), had a career-high 11 points and tied another with seven rebounds in 20 minutes. He entered the game averaging 4.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 11.6 minutes.
Deshaun Thomas also had 11 points for the Buckeyes to give coach Thad Matta his 300th win. He is 300-88 over 12 seasons, the last eight at Ohio State where he is 198-57.
Ohio State took the 17-point advantage at the half when Aaron Craft hit a looping runner at the buzzer in an otherwise tepid shooting effort from both teams.
The Buckeyes shot 46 percent from the floor while the Broncs shot 25 percent and had nearly as many turnovers (11) as attempts (16).
Marks hopes his team draws on the experience of playing the No. 2 team.
“I think sometimes as coaches we have to appreciate how special it is for guys like this to play against a team like Ohio State, a team that will have a chance at a national championship and is one of the top teams in the nation,” he said.