Following a statement win against Cincinnati in the team’s season opener, it could be easy for Ohio State to overlook Purdue Fort-Wayne, a Summit League team that won only 18 games last season.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann knows his team can’t do that.
Last season, the Mastodons went into Bloomington, Indiana and defeated the Hoosiers on the road by 20 behind 28 points from then-redshirt junior guard John Konchar. Indiana finished No. 6 in the Big Ten in 2018.
“Pretty much every day it’s been mentioned,” Ohio State sophomore guard Musa Jallow said. “We know that they’re capable of beating us just like we’re capable of beating them, so we’re gonna take them seriously.”
Ohio State (1-0)
G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 13.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg, 1.0 apg
G — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 11.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg
F — Kyle Young — Sophomore, 10.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 0.0 apg
F — Andre Wesson — Junior, 6.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.0 apg
F — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 15.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.0 apg
Purdue Fort-Wayne (1-1)
F — Dylan Carl — Redshirt sophomore, 1.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
G — Marcus DeBerry — Redshirt junior, 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 apg
G — Kason Harrell — Senior, 11.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.0 apg
F — Matt Holba — Redshirt junior, 9.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.5 apg
G — John Konchar — Redshirt senior, 21.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 6.0 apg
Purdue Fort-Wayne comes in with a pair of games under its belt, both with vastly different outcomes. In the season opener, the Mastodons lost to No. 21 UCLA 96-71, coming back home and annihilating Division III program, Earlham, 112-51.
Holtmann said the struggles Purdue Fort-Wayne had against UCLA are not going to happen against his team.
“Their length bothered them and UCLA’s much longer than we are across the board,” Holtmann said. “We’re going to have to be really disciplined, it’s gonna test us, in a lot of ways it’s gonna test us more because of how they spread you out then the game the other night.”
The Mastodons are led by Konchar, who leads the team in points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game this season while shooting 62.1 percent from the field.
Konchar is one of five players scoring in double figures through two games for Purdue Fort-Wayne, and Holtmann knows what the redshirt senior can bring.
“He’s phenomenal,” Holtmann said. “He’s versatile, I know many people have had him as one of the very best players in the country, but they have good players around them as well, really good players around them.”
The Buckeyes come into their home opener with a 64-56 victory on the road against the Bearcats, led by 15 points from sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson. Ohio State held Cincinnati to 27.4 percent shooting in the game.
Sophomore forward Andre Wesson said, even with the change from Cincinnati’s defense-first approach to Purdue Fort-Wayne’s high-scoring offense, the mindset doesn’t change.
“We just fall on just focusing on ourselves, really just focusing on our defensive principles,” Wesson said. “That’s kind of what Coach (Holtmann) wants us to do, just focus on what we can control at the end of the day and that’s playing the defense that he’s taught us to play.”
Ohio State comes to the Schottenstein Center for its home opener against Purdue Fort-Wayne, with tip-off at 4 p.m. on Sunday.