Hapless Aggies challenge mighty Buckeyes

Dec 17, 2014 - 3:25 PM Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Hoping to remain perfect in games against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the 12th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes entertain the Aggies of North Carolina A&T on Wednesday night.

North Carolina A&T has had a miserable start to the 2014-15 campaign, winning just once in 11 opportunities. That lone victory came in a 91-61 rout of visiting Greensboro College in the season opener, so that means the Aggies have lost 11 in a row. Their most recent setback took place on Sunday at Old Dominion, 85-48, and they already have a pair of conference losses on their resume'. NC A&T has played its last nine games away from home, and will actually play one more (Kent State on Friday) after this one before returning to the Corbett Sports Center to host NC Wesleyan on Dec. 28.

Ohio State, which is 17-0 all-time against teams from the MEAC, comes in sporting a stellar 8-1 record, and the majority of its games have taken place in Columbus. The Buckeyes' only loss came at Louisville on Dec. 2, and they have won three straight since. The most recent outing last Saturday resulted in an 81-71 victory over visiting Morehead State. OSU will take on North Carolina in Chicago this weekend, before returning home for three in a row, the last of which will be its Big Ten Conference opener against Iowa.

This bout marks the third meeting between these two schools in men's basketball, with Ohio State winning the first two. The most recent occurred back in 2010, with the Buckeyes posting a 102-61 triumph at home.

North Carolina A&T had a tough time of it in nearly every aspect of the game against Old Dominion over the weekend, as the team shot just 39.6 percent from the floor, which included a 6-of-22 effort from 3-point range, and it logged its lowest rebounding total of the season with a mere 19, only three of which came on the offensive glass. Khary Doby scored 16 points, Bruce Beckford had 15 and Denzel Keyes 10 for the Aggies, who watched almost helplessly as the Monarchs drained 54.1 percent of their total shots. ODU dominated the interior, outscoring the Aggies in the paint, 54-18. Bench points also leaned heavily in favor of the home team, 46-10.

Beckford is the team's leading scorer at 14.5 ppg, and he also serves as its top rebounder with 8.1 rpg. As a collective unit, the Aggies are shooting just 39.5 percent from the field, which includes a paltry 23.8 percent showing from 3-point range. As a result, the team is netting only 56.6 ppg, but it has done a decent job holding the opposition in check by allowing just 64.6 ppg.

Sam Thompson scored 15 points, came up with five rebounds and handed out five assists to help push Ohio State past Morehead State over the weekend. Joining Thompson in double figures were D'Angelo Russell with 15 points to go with seven helpers, and Amir Williams and Jae'Sean Tate with 12 points apiece. Williams nearly logged a double-double as he pulled down a game-high nine boards, the team as a whole easily winning the rebounding battle, 30-19. OSU turned the ball over 17 times, but forced 21 miscues. Both teams shot the ball well, with the Eagles draining 55.3 percent of their field goal attempts, and the Buckeyes 56.6 percent of their's. A 21-10 edge in points from the foul line helped OSU pull away for the win.

Russell paces the Buckeyes in scoring with 17.7 ppg, while also doing an exceptional job keeping his teammates involved in the action by dishing out 5.4 apg. Shannon Scott leads the Big Ten in assists with 7.3 apg, while Williams is shooting 75 percent from the field, and Marc Loving (10.9 ppg) is the conference's top 3-point shooter (.538). As a team, Ohio State leads the league in scoring margin (+25.7) and is tops in field goal percentage (.533), while ranking second in 3-point field goal percentage (.424), rebounding margin (+8.3), steals (8.8 per game) and turnover margin (+5.6).

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