Ohio State hopes to apply lessons learned from its first defeat when the Buckeyes host Merrimack on Wednesday night in Columbus.
After opening with a win against mid-major Oakland, the Buckeyes hosted then-No. 15 Texas A&M on Friday and lost 73-66.
“Rebounding and free throws,” Ohio State guard Bruce Thornton said. “We missed 10 free throws, so that makes a big difference.”
Thornton was slightly off in his assessment of the foul shots, but the Buckeyes making only 10 of 17 (58.8 percent) contributed to the loss as they dropped to 1-1.
“We didn’t do the small things at the end of the day. That really separates us from winning or losing when you play a tough team,” Thornton said.
Texas A&M controlled the boards, getting 16 offensive rebounds on its 36 missed shots to outscore the Buckeyes 19-9 on second-chance points. The Aggies had a 45-35 rebounding advantage overall.
“One thing we probably could’ve done better was get on the offensive boards more,” Ohio State forward Jamison Battle said.
Merrimack (2-1) could come to Columbus without leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Derkack (16.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg). He exited the game against Maine on Sunday because of a lower leg injury with 6:44 left in the first half and did not return. His status for Wednesday is unknown.
The Warriors went from nine points up at his departure to five down before rallying for a 71-65 victory.
“It was a great team win; I’m proud of these guys,” Merrimack coach Joe Gallo said.
In Derkack’s absence, Gallo saw freshman guard Adam “Budd” Clark take charge. He scored 19 points in 36 minutes.
“For Budd to do what he did, in his third-ever college game, is pretty amazing,” Gallo said.
This will be Ohio State’s first meeting with Merrimack, which is in its first full Division I season. The Warriors won the Northeast Conference tournament last season but were ineligible for the NCAA Tournament while in transition.
–Field Level Media
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