Ohio State coach Thad Matta watches from the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas-Pan American Saturday.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
COLUMBUS — Ohio State coach Thad Matta got his 300th career win without his star.
Evan Ravenel scored a career-high 11 points in place of Jared Sullinger and No. 2 Ohio State beat Texas Pan-American 64-35 Saturday.
Sullinger had back spasms during the Buckeyes' win over third-ranked Duke on Tuesday night and will be re-evaluated before Ohio State (8-0) faces No. 15 Kansas in Lawrence.
Deshaun Thomas also had 11 points for the Buckeyes.
Matta improved to 300-88 over 12 seasons, the last eight at Ohio State where he is 198-57.
Matta is a bit of an expert on back injuries, having undergone several surgeries. He saw Sullinger's MRI on Friday, which showed an aggravated disk.
"I feel as at that point I'm Dr. Thad because of all the rooms I've been in, all the operating rooms, recovery rooms," he said. "Just as they were going through the testing I'm going, 'That's good, that's good, that's good' and saying that from my own experiences."
Matta said Sullinger will be reevaluated Monday or Tuesday but feels the injury won't linger throughout the season. Sullinger has been averaging 19.1 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Jared Maree scored 13 points for the Broncs (2-7), who have lost the first three of a four-game road trip.
Ohio State's Aaron Craft (4) drives to the basket past Texas-Pan American's Ruben Cabrera (13) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday in Columbus.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
Texas-Pan American coach Ryan Marks was disappointed that Sullinger was not in the lineup.
"I think it was some mixed emotions because I think a lot of our guys would have like to say 'Hey I played against that guy', two or three years down the road," he said.
Ravenel, a transfer from Boston College, also tied a career high with seven rebounds for the Buckeyes. He entered the game averaging 4.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 11.6 minutes.
"I know I'm not Jared Sullinger," Ravenel said. "Me and Jared are two different players."
Ohio State took a 31-14 lead into halftime when Aaron Craft hit a looping runner at the buzzer in an otherwise tepid shooting effort from both teams. The Buckeyes shot 46 percent from the floor while the Broncs shot 25 percent and had nearly as many turnovers (11) as attempts (16).
Matta is looking forward to his next win.
"I'm not going to get caught up on 300," he said. "I'd just really like to get 301 next Saturday."
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.