Buckeyes top Mount St. Mary's for Matta's 300th Ohio St. win
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Beginning his 12th season at Ohio State, it didn't take long for coach Thad Matta to reach another milestone.
Jae'Sean Tate scored 21 points and two other Buckeyes turned in double-doubles as Ohio State opened its season with a 76-54 victory over Mount St. Mary's on Sunday that gave Matta his 300th win at the school.
''I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach here at Ohio State, especially for 12 years,'' Matta said. ''Not many get to stay around here that long.
''It goes back to (Alex) Haley the writer's old saying, `When you see a turtle on a fence post you know it didn't get there by itself.' The same definitely goes for me.''
''I've been here a while and I've had some great players.''
Matta is in his 12th year at Ohio State, where he is the all-time wins leader. He has 402 career wins including one season at Butler and three at Xavier.
He became Ohio State's winningest men's basketball coach during the Big Ten tournament last season when he picked up victory No. 298 to pass Fred Taylor (1959-1976).
Ensuring No. 300 win didn't take long on Sunday.
Leading 20-13, the Buckeyes, who never trailed, went on a 17-0 run, with 11 points from Tate, with 4:45 left in the first half to build their biggest lead of 24 points.
Marc Loving added 15 points and 11 rebounds and Keita Bates-Diop 10 points and 10 rebounds for their first career double-doubles. The Buckeyes hit half of their 56 shots, including 6 of 15 from 3-point range. Jaquan Lyle added 12 points and Daniel Giddens 11.
Despite the easy win, it was still a sloppy game for Ohio State with 18 turnovers. But it dominated inside, outscoring the Mountaineers in the paint 44-26 and holding a 50-22 rebounding advantage.
Tate had 14 points and Lyle 11 in the first half with the Buckeyes leading 42-21 at the break.
The Mountaineers got 16 points from Junior Robinson and 11 from Charles Glover. Mount St. Mary's made only 21 of 63 shots for 33.3 percent and just 7 of 25 from beyond the arc.
''They're a tough matchup because they run good stuff and typically don't turn the ball over,'' Mountaineers coach Jamion Christian said of the Buckeyes. ''They're very secure in what they do; they rebound the ball very well so we knew we weren't getting many second shots.''
Mount St. Mary's: The Mountaineers played their second game against a Big Ten opponent in three days, having lost at Maryland 80-56 on Friday.
Ohio State: Freshmen JaQuan Lyle, Daniel Giddens and Austin Grandstaff all scored on their first shots as Buckeyes. Four true freshmen combined to make 10 of 18 from the field.
Mount St. Mary's: At Washington on Thursday.
Ohio State: Host to Grambling on Tuesday.