Ohio State issues statement of support for coach Thad Matta

Men's basketball coach Thad Matta isn't going anywhere, Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith said in a release.

Tate continued his effort to put OSU over the top, but another six-point scoring outburst by Rutgers, capped off by a layup by junior forward Candido Sa, gave the Scarlet Knights enough momentum to stay out in front.

It was also the first win in Big Ten history by a 14 seed.

Plagued all season by the inability to close out games, 14th-seeded Rutgers overcame a rough shooting performance to beat 11th-seeded Ohio State 66-57 Wednesday night in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Wednesday's win was the first Big Ten Conference tournament win. After Rutgers planted its foot in the ground to stage a comeback, the Buckeyes were outrebounded 11-3, and watched their lead evaporate.

The Knights matched grabbed a six-point lead with under six minutes to play, but the Buckeyes chipped away, keeping things tight.

On the season, Rutgers basketball is averaging 65.7 points, 40.4 rebounds and 11.1 assists per game.

What We Learned:1. Rutgers Wanted It More Than The BuckeyesIn my estimation, Rutgers has more to gain from a win here. The Scarlet Knights came into the game ranked third in the nation in offensive rebounds with almost 15 per game.

Against Ohio State, the Scarlet Knights hit those numbers and more. It was like watching the underdog fighter continue to take punches from the bigger boxer, but they kept coming and the Buckeyes broke down in the second half. Jackson said. "Going against any team like [Rutgers], a team pressuring, a team trying to get in your face and disrupt you, they're going to be successful with that if you're not on the attack right back, like we weren't tonight".

"I hadn't even thought about that, I don't know, I'll have to sit down and think about what I want to do with these guys", he said.

Top stat: 47, rebounds for Rutgers compared to just 31 for Ohio State.

Down 55-53 with 2:44 left to play, Ohio State had a golden opportunity to tie the game up. "Well, I have seen it because it always happens to us this year". No. 2 scorer Deshawn Freeman fouled out in the second half.

Ohio State jumped out to an early lead, leading 17-8 before a four minute scoring drought allowed Rutgers to come roaring back to take the lead, as the two teams would seesaw back and forth throughout the first half, with Ohio State taking a 32-29 lead into the break.

"(The game) was just a cumulative effect, " Matta said.

Matta led the Buckeyes to a national title game appearance in 2007, when they lost to Florida.

  • Larry Hoffman