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Big Ten Women’s Tourney starts this week; Buckeyes play Friday

Big 10 Tourney (BTC)

The Big Ten Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 4-7 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. For the sixth-straight year, Ohio State will enter as the number 1 seed, having finished the Big Ten season with a 15-3 record.

The Buckeyes have won six straight conference titles, the first time in history any Big Ten men’s or women’s basketball team has achieved the feat. Overall, Ohio State has won 13 conference championships and will be defending its 2009 tournament title, having defeated Purdue in the finals, 67-66. Ohio State earns their eighth-consecutive first-round bye and will open defense of their tournament title in the first game of Session 3, scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Friday against the winner of  the #8 Indiana or #9 Illinois.

The first Big Ten Tournament originated in 1995 and since then six teams have captured postseason titles with Purdue’s seven tournament titles (’98,’99,2000,’03,’04,’07 & ’08) setting the Big Ten record. Iowa ( ’97, 2001), Penn State (’95, ’97) and Ohio State (2006, 2009) have each won the tournament twice, while Michigan State earned its first Big Ten Tournament Title in 2005. Indiana tied Purdue’s 1998 squad as the lowest seed to win the event when the number 5 Hoosiers defeated Penn State in the 2002 final for their only title.

Cincinnati powers past baseball Buckeyes, 12-4

Thomas Gentile (UC)

compiled from Ohio State and Cincinnati reports

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats baseball team behind a season-high 14 hits, closed out the 2010 Big Ten/Big East Baseball Challenge with a 12-4 win over number 13 Ohio State Sunday Afternoon at the Naimoli Complex. The tournament being played in St. Petersburg, Fla., allowed the Bearcats to earn a win over the highest ranked team since defeating number 11 TCU in 2004.

The Bearcats received a solid start from Columbus, Ohio, native Thomas Gentile, who went four innings, and gave up four runs, but left the game in the fifth with runners on first and second with no outs and leading 8-4. Junior Brian Sand shut the door on the Buckeyes in the fifth inning without allowing another run to score and pitched five innings of no-hit baseball to earn his first win of the season.

The UC defense turned five double plays on the Buckeyes, including two inning-ending twin-killings.

Ohio State was led by Catcher Dan Burkhart offensively, going 3-4 with a double, and RBI and a run scored.

The Bearcats are now 21-65-2 vs. Ohio State.

The game was delayed about an hour due to the Minnesota-Louisville game going late.

GAME NOTES

* The Buckeyes upped their record to 5-0 when they defeated Notre Dame on Saturday.

* The Buckeyes, now 5-1, will be back in Florida next weekend, facing Duquesne Friday at 1 p.m. in Port Charlotte.

* Cincinnati will play their first home series of 2010 when they welcome the Youngstown State Penguins to Marge Schott Stadium on March 5-7. The series will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday March

*

Dayton ends losing streak by hammering UMass, 96-68

The Dayton Flyers came into Saturday night’s game with UMass trying put a halt on two losing streaks. First, was a current 2-game streak losing at Duquesne and Temple last week. Second, was a 4-game skid to the Minutemen dating back to 2005.

In order to accomplish both of those goals, the Flyers would have to slow down UMass, stop high-scoring guard Ricky Harris, the Atlantic 10′s second leading scorer at 19.3 ppg and outrebound the number 1 team in the conference in rebounding. They accomplished all three of those goals: holding UMass to only 68 points; shutting down Ricky Harris, only 9 points on 3 0f 15 shooting and outrebounding the visitors, 44-30, 14 of them on the offensive glass.

A sellout crowd of 13, 435 cheered the Flyers on to a 96-68 victory and win number 19 of the season. Those 96 points are the most scored at Dayton in Brian Gregory’s tenure as head coach.

Backup point guard Mickey Perry led 6 Dayton players in double figures with five, 3-point baskets. Chris Wright had 14, Rob Lowery with 13, Marcus Johnson and Chris Johnson scored 11 each and Devin Searcy put in 10.

Dayton led at the half, 43-31. But the early part of the second half, it looked as if Dayton and its bench depth was going to run away with the game. The Flyers came and pushed the tempo and upped the lead to 19, 54-35. However the game was not over.

The referees started to call ever close bump and anything close to it. UMass went on a 15-4 run to cut the lead down to 58-50 and with 12:40 to go in the game, they had Dayton in team foul trouble with 10 fouls to 2.

After a media timeout at the 11:25 mark, the Flyers and Mickey Perry went to work to put the game away. Perry hit four, 3-point goals to fuel a 28-10 run which made the score 86-60. During that run, Dayton pushed the ball up the floor, took good shots, most of the time they weren’t guarded and they played defense and rebounded the ball.

Dayton shot the ball well all night, 57% in the first half, 52.9% in the second half and 54.8% for the game. Dayton out scored UMass in the hustle stats: 34-24 in the paint, 28-9 on the fast break and 48-22 in bench scoring.

Massachusetts now has its own losing streak to deal with as they’ve dropped three in a row and are now 10-18, 4-10 in the Atlantic 10.

Its hard to believe this is the same UMass team that has had some great players like Julius Erving, Marcus Camby, Lorenzo Sutton, Lou Roe, Edgar Padilla, Carmelo Traviaso and Monty Mack. Not to mention top-notch coaches like Jack Leaman and John Calipari. This team even beat Memphis 73-72 back on December 19.

Mickey Perry (UD)

The Minutemen were led by Terrell Vinson with 16 points followed by 12 from Freddie Riley and 10 each for Anthony Gurley and Sampson Carter.

The series is now tied at 8-8.

SOUNDS OF THE GAME

44 355 Brian Gregory Dayton Coach comments on win number 19….44 356 Brian Gregory Dayton Coach His team solid job on rebounding and defense….44 357 Brian Gregory Dayton Coach His team kept Ricky Harris from scoring….44 362 Brian Gregory Dayton Coach His team playing before former UD players.

GAME NOTES

* Dayton Junior Chris Wright became the 42nd player to score 1,000 points in his Flyer career after scoring 15 at Duquesne. Wright was honored before the game and given the ball from that game.

*With this being the 40th anniversary of the University of Dayton Arena, the school brought back some of its former players: George Jackson, Allen Elijah, Norm Grevey, J.D. Grigsby, Nolan Robinson, Donnie May, Mike Kanieski, Roosevelt Chapman, Pat Murnen, et al.

*Dayton Senior Kurt Huelsman’s 128 consecutive starts is a Dayton record and is tied for the sixth-longest active streak in Division I. In less than four seasons, the Flyers have won 88 games he has started.

* Kurt Huelsman and London Warren hold the UD record for consecutive games played with 128.

* Saturday’s game was played on February 27 and on that date in 1971, “Dr. J” Julius Erving scores 35 points and adds 17 rebounds in UMass’ first-ever meeting with George Washington, a 70-65 win at Madison Square Garden.

* On February 27, 1979, UMass legendary coach Jack Leaman coaches what proves to be his final game, a 78-73 overtime loss to Villanova.

* On February 27, 1988, Lorenzo Sutton plays a total of 54 minutes in a 119-114 UMass three overtime loss to Rutgers. He set the record for minutes played in a single game and for three-point field goal attempts (17). He also tied for second all-time for points in a game with 39 (also his career high).

Buckeyes outlast Wolverines for third win in six days

The ninth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes mens basketball team, with a golden opportunity to grab a share of the Big 10 Conference Championship in the season’s final week, welcomed rival Michigan into the Value City Arena Saturday for an afternoon matinee.

The teams locked horns in Ann Arbor in early Jan. and the Buckeyes, playing without  Evan Turner, fell to their arch-rivals, 73-64.

It was a much different picture inside the Schottenstein Center Saturday afternoon, however.

The Buckeyes scored the first nine points of the game en route to a 66-55 win over the Wolverines.

William Buford, playing all 40 minutes, led the scoring Saturday afternoon with a game-high 24 points, adding nine rebounds and four assists. Evan Turner did as he usually does, scoring 18 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing nine assists in 39 minutes.

Though, perhaps the most impressive Buckeye Saturday afternoon was Dallas Lauderdale. When Ohio State lost to Michigan six weeks ago, Lauderdale was basically non-existent, tallying only eight points and eight rebounds.

“Dallas was pretty eager to go today,” Buckeyes Head Coach Thad Matta said after the game, “[DeShawn] Simms nearly hung 30 on him in the first matchup and he wanted to return the favor.”

“The coaches were on me a little bit this week in practice,” Lauderdale said. “We knew it was important to slow down Simms if we were going to have a chance.”

Dallas certainly didn’t disappoint the 18,862 that packed the Schott Saturday. Equaling a career-high, Lauderdale scored 14 points, including a pair of raucous second-half dunks, the latter a one-handed slam on a feed from Evan Turner at the 4:28 mark of the second half that basically put the game on ice.

“I told my teammates to just throw up the ball and I’ll go get it,” Lauderdale said with a chuckle.

A superficial glance at the box score may lead one to believe Ohio State cruised to its 23rd win of the season (13th in conference play), though that’s not exactly how it went down.

Using a 19-9 run over the final 7:10 of the first half, Michigan took a 33-32 lead into the halftime break. The difference in the first half: seven Ohio State turnovers leading to 14 Michigan points and a six-point first-half advantage from the free-throw line for the Wolverines.

“They really slowed the ball down in the first half, and they were making shots” Turner said. “We had to really turn up the defensive intensity in the second half.”

Ohio State didn’t just turn up the defensive intensity in the second half, it cranked it to high and tore off the knob.

The Wolverines scored just 22 second-half points, connecting on only 26% of their shots (6-23) in the final 20 minutes and a 15-5 Buckeyes spurt gave Ohio State an 11-point lead with just over 10 minutes to play.

Michigan would get no closer than seven the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, William Buford continued to make shots. Playing a remarkably-consistent brand of basketball throughout, Buford was 9-15 for the game and 4-7 in the second half as the Buckeyes put the game away.

“My teammates did a great job getting me the ball,” Buford said. “I was really feeling it today and was able to knock down some shots.”

“He had a great all-around game,” Turner said, speaking of Buford. “Will is a guy that was just born to score. He has tremendous confidence in his shot.”

Ohio State has now won three straight games, nine of 10 and is 13-3 since Turner returned from a back injury that sidelined him for six games between December and early January.

“We’ve got a decent flow” Matta said of his team’s recent play. “We can sometimes be a little sloppy, but overall I’m very proud of where we are today.”

Ohio State will cap its 2009-2010 season Tuesday night when Illinois visits Columbus. The Buckeyes may well be playing for a share of the conference championship Tuesday as well.

If the suddenly Robbie Hummel-less Boilermakers stumble tomorrow afternoon against Michigan State, the Buckeyes will have the opportunity, with a win over the Illini, to forge a tie atop the Big 10 Conference.

“I said back in October that we just wanted to be playing our best basketball in February and March,” Matta said. “The tough teams win in February.”

The Buckeyes lost only one game in the entire month of February. According to Matta’s above theory, this makes them a tough team.

Hopefully tough teams win in March, too.

Ilgauskas a free agent; poised to return to Cleveland

Zydrunas Ilgauskas got his wish and was waived this past week by the Washington Wizards. His old teammates in Cleveland want him to return as quick as he can.

Cavs star LeBron James put out his pitch to get the 7’3 center back in Cleveland, “He knows I would love for him to be back here. I want him to be back here, especially while we’re contending for a title.” He’s one of the main reasons why I want to win a title for this team.”

“Z” as he was called in Cleveland, was acquired by Washington on February 17 as part of the three-team trade that sent Antawn Jamison to the Cavaliers, didn’t play one game. He reported February 19, took a physical and immediately returned to Cleveland.

The 34-year old is averaging 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds this season. Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld agreed on a buyout with Ilgauskas because they wanted to lower their payroll and let their younger centers get the experience they need for the rest of the season.

No team is far enough under the salary cap to absorb Ilgauskas’ $11.5 million salary for this season, so he is a free agent eligible to join any team once he clears waivers. He would be able to rejoin the Cavaliers in 30 days, but he can join any other team immediately.

“Z” has spent his entire career in Cleveland after being drafted in 1996. He said he wants to win an NBA championship before he retires.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas (NBA)

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