Ohio State to Host Cedarville in Exhibition Basketball

Abigail Hintz

Ohio State fans will get their first glimpse at what should be head coach Chris Holtmann's best team so far when it debuts Wednesday night at Value City Arena against NCAA Division II Cedarville University. 

The game will be OSU's only exhibition before its season-opener Nov. 6 vs. the University of Cincinnati.

Cedarville, located approximately 50 miles from the Ohio State campus, list its exhibition opener to Valparaiso, 85-65. The Yellow Jackets will begin their season Nov. 8.

“We’re appreciative that they give us these games, because they don’t have to,” Cedarville coach Pat Estepp said. “The help, financially, is a big deal. Division I exhibition games are really hard to get.”

OSU returns leading scorer and rebounder Kaleb Wesson, a 6-10 junior who has lost 34 pounds since last season.

Most of the buzz surrounding the Buckeyes, however, concerns a freshman class that includes guard D.J. Carton, forwards Alonzo Gaffney and E.J. Liddell and center Ibrahima Diallo and junior transfer guard C.J. Walker.

"We're glad (to be playing) Cedarville,," said Holtmann, who has coached OSU to  a pair of first-round NCAA Tournament victories each of his first two seasons. "(Cedarville coach) Pat (Estepp) had talked to me for a couple years about playing. We always want to play Ohio schools in this exhibition. It's something we really want to do."

Cedarville fans are thrilled to see their team play against such a high-profile D1 opponent, purchasing the first 1,500 tickets granted to the university by Ohio State, prompting them to be granted another 1,000.

"It's been a great thing for their school," said Holtmann. "They'll come in here and play with tremendous energy and passion. Pat does a great job, so we're looking forward to it."

Cedarville is coming off of a 21-12 season in which it finished fourth in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference before going on to win the National Christian College Athletic Association national tournament.

Several Cedarville players are from central Ohio, meaning they grew up cheering for Ohio State and dreaming of playing in Value City Arena.

"I’ve always been an Ohio State fan, so the excitement is there," said Cedarville sophomore Quinton Green, a Columbus native. "I'll have to take off my Ohio State Buckeyes cap for that one. It’s a great opportunity to show what we’ve got.”

Estepp is looking at the game as an opportunity to reach potential recruits and is simply looking for his team to compete. He said the outcome will not affect his team's outlook on the rest of the season. 

Ohio State is also looking to gain something from the exhibition in advance of opening against Cincinnati.

"We want to be a great defensive team, be locked in on details, playing in our gaps, communication," OSU's C.J. Walker said. "...Going against somebody else, you never know what kind of players they have or what's going to happen."

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