Ohio State completes its non-league schedule looking for a second straight win when the Buckeyes host Alabama A&M on Thursday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.
The Buckeyes (8-3) rebounded from an 89-84 overtime loss to North Carolina on Dec. 17 to defeat Maine 95-61 four days later before a holiday break.
“We’ve had some travel issues getting everybody back,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said Tuesday on his radio show. “We haven’t been able to have everybody (Monday) and (Tuesday) but we’ve been able to have certainly a good portion of our guys, but not everybody.”
Holtmann was uncertain if graduate transfer Isaac Likekele would be available for the first time in four games. The guard has been tending to a family matter in Texas.
The Buckeyes will welcome back junior guard Eugene Brown III, who had been in concussion protocol since the preseason. Brown averaged 3.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in 26 games (10 starts) last season.
Alabama A&M (4-8) has lost two straight games, however first-year coach Otis Hughley Jr. likes the way his team has been hardened by a tough schedule.
The Bulldogs gave Illinois a tussle in a 68-47 setback on Dec. 17 before dropping a 70-62 decision at Vanderbilt last Thursday.
Alabama A&M reeled off 16 straight points at the start of the second half and trailed 38-37 with 10:54 to play before Illinois pulled away.
“‘They’ve never been in a Power Five arena before, none of these guys, and played to win,” Hughley said. “Last year, if they’d have played this game and got down, they’d have gotten beat by 50.”
Holtmann took notice as the Buckeyes have one final prep before playing at Northwestern on Sunday.
“(Alabama A&M) will challenge us in a lot of ways,” he said. “At this point, we’ve done what we’ve needed to do in terms of playing a schedule with a bunch of different looks from a bunch of different teams.”
–Field Level Media