Saturday, March 18, 2000

Ohio State 87, Appalachian State 61




BY SCOTT MacGREGOR
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There was a moment when Michael Redd looked like Michael Jordan. And many others when Ohio State, dominating a weaker opponent, flashed the weapons of a team with legitimate Final Four potential.

        When Redd stole a pass, drove to the basket and threw down a one-handed, split-legged, Jordan-esque dunk, it was not so much a decisive moment as a symbolic one. By that time in their first round NCAA Tournament victory Friday night, the Buckeyes had built a 22-point first half lead on 14th-seeded Appalachian State, and would go on to easily win 87-61.

        But it illustrated how completely overpowering third-seeded Ohio State was on this night, and showed the kind of swagger the Buckeyes carried through this tournament and into the Final Four last year.

        Ohio State players talked about getting hungry again after losing to Penn State in the Big Ten tournament last week. Appalachian State's misfortune was being the first meal in the way.

        “We wanted to go out there and prove a point tonight,” said Redd, who finished with 21 points, including two highlight film jams. “A lot of people have doubted us since that loss to Penn State. We knew this was going to be a nationally televised game, so we wanted to create an impression tonight, and show that loss was behind us.”

        Granted, one win over an underdog in the first round won't mean anything come Sunday, when the Buckeyes take on either sixth-seeded Miami or 11th-seeded Arkansas in the South Region's second round. But it does mean that Ohio State is back on track -- and peaking at the right time.

        Coach Jim O'Brien said Friday was the best the Buckeyes (23-6) have played all season offensively, coming on the heels of one of their worst offensive nights in the loss to Penn State, when they missed 22 of 26 3-pointers. Friday, they shot 58 percent overall and 60 percent (9-of-15) on 3-pointers.

        “I've been telling our guys all year long we haven't had our best offensive game yet,” O'Brien said, “but I told them if we're going to have it, we've got to have it before too long. I'm hoping this is going to continue on through the tournament.”

        The Buckeyes dictated what they wanted from their first possession, when Redd pushed the ball up court on a fast break and dished to Penn, who nailed a jumper for the first basket of the game. That was also a symbolic moment, illustrating how they would use their speed to dominate in transition, and how Penn -- who has struggled with his shot all season and missed 3 of 16 in the Big Ten tournament loss -- would finally find his rhythm and the basket.

        The senior point guard, whom O'Brien told to keep shooting no matter what his luck, scored 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, and revived his reputation as one of the nation's top clutch players.

        “It's that time of year,” Penn said. “Every shot, you just feel like being really excited about.”

        Senior forward George Reese continued his dominance in the low post with 19 points and eight assists, passing out of double-teams to open shooters. Redd scored his 21 with a combination of pretty jumpers, powerful post moves and open-court dunks on the break.

        Ohio State built as much as a 25-point first half lead at 38-13 after just 13 minutes. And the Buckeyes did in a hurry, burying ASU with a barrage of weapons.

        “That was important,” Redd said, “one of the few times we've done that this year. We were just in a groove.”

        Center Ken Johnson, who averages only 7.8 points per game, had six of the Bucks' first 12. Reese just overpowered ASU's smaller front line for 11 first-half points. Guard Brian Brown mixed a couple of jumpers in between his solid perimeter defense on the Mountaineers' dangerous shooters. Redd exploded for a stretch where he scored seven of nine Buckeye points, hitting two jumpers off the dribble and a 3-pointer. ASU (23-9) was done before haftime.

        When Penn hit his fifth 3-pointer late in the second half, once the game was long out of hand, he pumped his fists in the air and flashed a huge grin.

        The old Scoonie was back, and so was Ohio State.

        “This is a whole new season,” Penn said.

Penn's shot is getting hot at right time
Reese gives Buckeyes big assists
Tournament game coverage at Cincinnati.com/madness
Join the discussion in our College Sports forum


APPALACHIAN ST (61)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Holmes          19   3-6   0-0   2-5  0  4    6
Alexander       27   1-2   5-6   2-2  1  1    7
Cooper          30  3-10   1-1   3-6  2  4    7
T Patterson     37  7-15   0-0   2-2  4  1   15
Mcmahon         18   1-6   0-0   0-1  0  0    3
M Patten         1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Butler           3   0-0   2-2   0-0  0  1    2
Leach           30  4-13   0-0   0-0  2  2   11
Davis           25   3-6   2-6  3-12  0  0    8
Huge             4   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Phillips         1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Shehan           5   1-1   0-0   0-1  1  0    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 23-59 10-15 12-29 10 13   61
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.390, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals: 5-17, .294 (T Patterson 1-4, Mcmahon 1-5, Leach 3-8). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 5 (Alexander, Cooper, T Patterson, Holmes, Huge). Turnovers: 14 (T Patterson 4, Cooper 2, Davis 2, Leach 2, Mcmahon 2, Alexander, Phillips). Steals: 4 (Cooper, Leach, Mcmahon, T Patterson).

OHIO ST (87) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Brown 33 4-7 0-0 0-5 1 3 9 Reese 36 5-9 9-10 2-4 8 0 19 Johnson 22 4-7 0-0 2-6 0 4 8 Penn 35 9-11 0-0 0-2 2 0 23 Redd 31 9-16 1-1 1-5 5 3 21 Darby 6 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 Robinson 2 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 Savovic 13 1-1 0-2 0-0 3 2 3 Smith 2 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Steele 2 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 Ocokoljic 12 1-2 0-0 2-4 0 0 2 Dudley 6 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 34-59 10-13 8-29 19 16 87 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.576, FT-.769. 3-Point Goals: 9-15, .600 (Brown 1-1, Penn 5-7, Redd 2-5, Darby 0-1, Savovic 1-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 4 (Johnson 2, Reese, Ocokoljic). Turnovers: 10 (Penn 3, Johnson 2, Savovic 2, Darby, Redd). Steals: 9 (Redd 4, Savovic 3, Reese 2). __________________________________ Appalachian St 25 36 - 61 Ohio St 46 41 - 87 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 17,297. Officials: Bob Sitov, Robert Adams, Tom Wood.



Sports Stories
Controversial week for Knight ends with exit
Pepperdine 77, Indiana 57
UK underdog against Syracuse
Saul draws tough task vs. Hart
- Ohio State 87, Appalachian State 61
Men's NCAA Tournament: Friday's scores
Men's NCAA Tournament: Today's games
Men's NCAA Tournament: Sunday's games
Badin has another title in its sight
Badin fans optimistic
Mason gets third chance at state title
Ohio Girls Final Four
Purcell to meet its match
St. X plays for regional title
Ohio Boys Regional Tournaments
Kentucky Boys State Tournament Schedule
Brossart loses Sweet 16 quarterfinal
Cyclones 2, Grand Rapids 0
Worchester 4, Mighty Ducks 2

UC 64, UNC-Wilmington 47
Mickeal key as Bearcats seek renewal
Game worsens Martin's pain
Mickeal's defense wakes up Bearcats
Johnson becomes shot-blocker
West Ender Shelton will lead Tulsa vs. UC
Tulsa impressive in romp over UNLV
Xavier women collapse in NCAA
Austin too quick for Musketeers
Women's NCAA Tournament: Friday's scores
Women's NCAA Tournament: Today's games
Women's NCAA Tournament: Sunday's Games
Reds Game Report
Reds wrestle with Reyes' role
Starters' struggles cause for alarm?