Friday, March 12, 1999

OHIO STATE 72, MURRAY STATE 58


Buckeyes back with force

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDIANAPOLIS — Some Ohio State players admitted to being a little nervous Thursday night. Jason Singleton's hands were cold, and Michael Redd felt caught up in the hype.

        “Once you get here, you can't really believe it,” Redd said.

        The school was playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years. Only one Buckeye — Scoonie Penn — had ever played in the NCAA, and that was when he was with another program.

        But even when Murray State led 10-7 less than 61/2 minutes into the game, it seemed only a matter of time until the obviously more talented Buckeyes took over.

        “We came in confident,” Redd said. “Our shots weren't falling, but we knew if we kept shooting, they'd drop eventually. Once we got settled in, we started playing well.”

        Fourth-seeded OSU advanced to the second round with a 72-58 victory over Murray State in a South Region matchup at the RCA Dome.

        The Buckeyes started the game 3-of-13 shooting but took the lead for good with 9:44 left in the first half.

        “It's about survival and moving on,” Buckeyes coach Jim O'Brien said. “I'm hoping we'll play better than we did tonight.”

        It was a decidely pro-Ohio State crowd that made it seem much like a Buckeyes' home game — as it probably will be again Saturday night when OSU (24-8) faces No.12-seeded Detroit, which upset No.5-seed UCLA, 56-53.

        Penn played in the NCAA in 1996 and '97 while at Boston College under O'Brien. But it was Redd (19.5 ppg) who deliv ered most in the big-time setting.

        The 6-foot-6 sophomore was aggressive offensively from the tipoff and led Ohio State with 27 points. Redd had three steals, five rebounds, no turnovers and four assists, including a nifty behind-the-back pass from under the basket to teammate Ken Johnson for a dunk on a 2-on-1 fastbreak in the second half.

        “I've been trying to play like this for the last couple weeks,” Redd said.

        “He's tough to defense because he is so elusive and he shoots the ball so well,” Murray State coach Tevester Anderson said.

        Penn finished with just seven points on 2-of-12 shooting — breaking a streak of 12 games in double figures — and four assists. Singleton added 10 points and 10 rebounds for OSU, and Johnson had eight points, five boards and five blocks.

        “I have to keep shooting the ball,” said Penn, who was 1-of-8 from three-point range. “Sooner or later it's going to drop.”

        No.13-seeded Murray State (27-6) watched the Buckeyes struggle early, then the Racers went cold.

        Stone cold.

        They missed 10 consecutive field goal attempts, went 6:42 without scoring and were on the short end of a 23-5 run that put Ohio State ahead 30-15 and gave the Buckeyes control of the game.

        The outcome wasn't much in doubt after that.

        Murray State, which shot just 27.3 percent from the field despite 21 offensive rebounds, trailed by as many as 17 points with 11:58 remaining.

        It got within nine points four times in the last 5:14 but couldn't get any closer. Murray State had just one field goal in the final 3:48.

        The Racers were playing in their seventh NCAA Tournament in the 1990s and third in a row. Their only victory, however, came in 1988 over North Carolina State.

        Senior point guard Aubrey Reese led Murray State with 26 points.

        MURRAY ST. (27-8) — Murray 0-9 2-2 2, Spencer 3-8 1-2 7, Virgil 4-10 0-0 8, Towns 3-9 0-0 8, A.Reese 6-15 11-14 26, Floyd 0-2 0-0 0, Page 0-3 0-0 0, Burdine 0-0 0-0 0, Cunningham 2-9 1-3 5, Gay 0-1 2-4 2. Totals 18-66 17-25 58.

        OHIO ST. (24-8) — Singleton 3-7 4-6 10, Johnson 2-6 4-6 8, Penn 2-12 2-4 7, Brown 0-1 4-6 4, Redd 10-20 7-12 27, Savovic 2-3 0-0 6, Sanderson 3-3 0-1 6, G.Reese 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 24-57 21-35 72.

        Halftime score—Ohio St. 32, Murray St. 21. 3-Point Goals—Murray St. 5-20 (A.Reese 3-7, Towns 2-6, Cunningham 0-1, Page 0-2, Murray 0-4), Ohio St. 3-11 (Savovic 2-2, Penn 1-8, Redd 0-1). Fouled out—Virgil. Rebounds—Murray St. 53 (Virgil 11), Ohio St. 42 (Singleton 10). Assists—Murray St. 7 (Murray 3), Ohio St. 11 (Redd, Penn 4). Total fouls—Murray St. 25, Ohio St. 22.

MARCH MADNESS PAGE



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