Tennessee St 65

(2-4, 1-1 OVC)

(24) Ohio State 74

(8-0, 6-0 home)

    8:00 PM ET, December 23, 2005

    Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio

    1 2 T
    TNST 31 3465
    #24OSU 40 3474

    Top Performers

    Tennessee St: W. Arnold 23 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Ohio State: J. Foster 19 Pts, 2 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    Foster helps No. 22 Buckeyes hold off Tennessee St.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- It may take Ohio State a while to get used to being ranked.

    Je'Kel Foster continued on his scoring tear with 19 points and the Buckeyes (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 24 AP) rallied down the stretch to beat Tennessee State 74-65 on Friday night.

    Terence Dials also scored 19 points -- 15 in the second half -- for the Buckeyes (8-0), who jumped into the Top 25 this week for the first time in almost four years. Jamar Butler added 10 points and seven assists.

    "We always looked at opponents differently when they were ranked," Ohio State swingman J.J. Sullinger said. "It puts a target on your back. You know a team coming in will give you its best."

    Foster was the Big Ten's player of the week last week, averaging 18 points in three victories while shooting 63 percent from the field and 58 percent from 3-point range.

    "I credit my teammates with getting me wide-open shots," Foster said. "Like last week, I'm just getting shots, taking my time and knocking them down."

    Wayne Arnold was 7-of-8 from 3-point range and scored 23 points for the Tigers (2-4), while Bruce Price had 14 points and seven assists and Reiley Ervin added 12 points.

    Price went down late in the game with a knee injury and coach Cy Alexander said he feared it could be season-ending.

    "That would make this particularly disheartening," Alexander said.

    The Buckeyes, 8-0 for the first time in 15 years, trailed 55-52 with 10:43 left after Tennessee State's Kareem Grant scored inside off an assist from Price. But the Tigers, playing their fifth straight road game, didn't score again for the next 7½ minutes.

    "Everything starts at the defensive end," Dials said. "We gave up a lot of easy baskets and they also hit some tough shots. We picked up the intensity."

    Coach Thad Matta, who said he was more nervous going into this game than any this season, agreed that the Buckeyes worked harder on defense to shut down the Tigers.

    "We were more active," he said. "We took away their penetration better and did a better job of helping and recovering."

    Foster hit a jumper and then tossed a lob pass inside to Dials for a layup to give the Buckeyes the lead for good at 56-55 with 9:10 left. After the Buckeyes hit five free throws, Butler scored off a backdoor pass from Foster and Foster then hit a baseline drive to make it 65-55.

    Tennessee State, which missed nine shots from the field and two free throws during its drought, finally broke through on Ervin's 3-pointer at the 3:17 mark. The Tigers never got closer than five points again.

    "It was poise and not being tough enough yet as a young team to handle a lead on the road," Alexander said of the dry spell. "We had people trying to do too much, taking shots too quickly. ... Basketball is a game of runs and we've got to work to shorten the opponent's runs from 5 minutes to 2 minutes."

    The Tigers were 13-of-28 on 3-pointers but were overwhelmed on free throws. Preferring to stay on the perimeter on offense, they were 4-of-6 from the line to Ohio State's 20-of-25.

    Larry Turner had six points and seven rebounds in only his second game for the Tigers since becoming eligible after transferring from Oklahoma.

    Ohio State led 42-31 after Dials scored inside on the second trip down the floor in the second half. Tennessee State, which went on a 11-0 run to lead by as many as 10 points in the first half, responded with consecutive 3-pointers by Arnold and Price.

    Down 47-39, the Tigers scored 12 of the next 17 points to pull even at 51 on Arnold's 3-pointer. Price then hit two free throws with 11:54 left after a technical foul on Sullinger for slapping the backboard. They were the Tigers' first free throws of the game.

    Ohio State finished 6-of-19 on 3-pointers, ending a school-record streak of four consecutive games with at least 10 3s.

    Matta said it may take his team some time to get comfortable having teams challenge its record and ranking.

    "At the start of the game, I think we thought it was going to be easier than it was," he said. "For whatever reason, we were not as sharp as we needed to be. We left a lot of shooters [open] and that's something we'll have to correct."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 65 74
    FG Made-Attempted 24-53 (.453) 24-52 (.462)
    3P Made-Attempted 13-28 (.464) 6-19 (.316)
    FT Made-Attempted 4-6 (.667) 20-25 (.800)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 10 12

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 23, 2005 @OSU 74, TNST 65Recap