Eagles and Buckeyes square off in non-conference action

Dec 13, 2014 - 3:42 PM Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Thad Matta stalks the sidelines in his 500th career game as he leads the 12th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes versus Morehead State on Saturday afternoon at Value City Arena.

Matta, who is in his 11th season at OSU after spending one with Butler and three at Xavier, is also seeking to become the all-time wins leader at Ohio State, needing 16 victories to pull ahead of Fred Taylor (297 wins). The coach has his 2014-15 squad showing a 7-1 record, with the lone loss coming against nationally-ranked Louisville (64-55) last week during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at KFC Yum! Center.

Since that setback, the Buckeyes have worked their way back into the win column twice, first with a 70-50 romp over Colgate last weekend and then a 97-43 thrashing of High Point three nights ago. Ohio State will have one more home game in this current four-game run four days from now versus North Carolina A&T, before being challenged by the North Carolina Tar Heels in the CBS Sports Classic at the United Center in Chicago.

While OSU is cruising along as one of the top programs in the Big Ten, the Eagles are already three games under .500 through 11 contests. Since taking out Kentucky Christian (121-49) near the end of last month, Morehead State has lost three in a row.

Last weekend, the Eagles had a chance to put an end to the slide against Oakland, but bowed in overtime, 70-68, at home.

As far as the all-time series is concerned, OSU has won all three previous encounters, all of which have been played at Value City Arena. The most recent meeting was four years ago as the Buckeyes delivered a 64-45 win.

Trailing by as many as 18 late in the first half against Oakland, the Eagles fought all the way back to force overtime but then ran out of steam as they converted only a pair of field goals in the bonus session. Leading the charge for the Eagles was Lyonell Gaines who delivered a double-double consisting of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow starter Angelo Warner filled his stat line with 15 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists, but he was also charged with six turnovers.

Also giving the Eagles a fighting chance were Kareem Storey with 12 points, Billy Reader 11 and seven boards, before fouling out, and reserve Corban Collins with 10 points, the only backup to score for the home team as they shot only 7-of-24 behind the 3-point line.

Warner, a 50 percent shooter from the floor who is also 42.3 percent accurate out on the perimeter, is the lone double-digit scorer for MSU through 11 games as he puts up 16.1 ppg. As someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the Eagles into the win column, Warner is also averaging 4.4 rpg and has 29 assists, as well as 24 steals in his 10 appearances. The team is posting 69.0 ppg and limiting foes to just 62.6 ppg, but in both of those instances the team has had the stats buoyed by the blowout of Kentucky Christian.

Leading the charge for the Buckeyes in their crushing defeat of High Point, Kam Williams tallied a career-high 23 points, scoring 13 straight in the first half during one stretch. Also scoring in double figures for Ohio State were D'Angelo Russell (18 points), Jae'Sean Tate (12), Shannon Scott (11) and Sam Thompson (10), marking the fourth time this season that the Buckeyes have had at least five player post 10 points or more. As a unit, Ohio State shot an impressive 62.5 percent from the floor, including 8-of-13 (.615) behind the 3- point line.

Despite the scoring burst in the latest outing, Williams is netting just 9.4 ppg overall on the campaign. He trails Russell (18.0 ppg), Marc Loving (11.5 ppg) and Thompson (9.9 ppg) as a balanced scoring attack has led the Buckeyes to an impressive 82.2 ppg. The squad is converting field goals at a 53.0 percent clip, the 3-pointers coming in at 42.4 percent. At the defensive end, opponents are generating only 55.4 ppg versus the Buckeyes.

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