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Sports Today: Ohio State wins in ways expected and not

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 10:08 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Dakich #13 and Keita Bates-Diop #33 of the Ohio State Buckeyes talk during a stop in action against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on February 7, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Dakich #13 and Keita Bates-Diop #33 of the Ohio State Buckeyes talk during a stop in action against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on February 7, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

What a day we had yesterday! 

The basketball and national signing day action we promised in this space did not disappoint. 

In fact, it exceeded expectations since Ohio State actually won at Purdue, which I did not expect in the least. 

RELATED: Buckeyes move into first-place tie with last-second victory

I may start calling Chris Holtmann “Coach Thesaurus” because I am running out of superlative for these Buckeyes, who not only beat the Boilermakers on their floor but overcame a 14-point deficit in doing so. 

Keita Bates-Diop won his Big Ten Player of the Year showdown with Middletown native Vincent Edwards. The OSU senior scored the last of his 18 points on the decisive basket with less than three seconds left. He also had 11 rebounds and three assists while Edwards scored 11 points and grabbed nine caroms. 

I thought those two would cancel each other out and the difference would be Isaac Haas and Carsen Edwards. They combined for 46 points for Purdue, but Ohio State got 18 points from its bench, including 10 big ones from Indiana native Musa Jallow, while the Boilermakers backups were shut out. 

Ohio State won the battle of the boards and committed only eight turnovers. 

This team really has something special going in terms of chemistry and attitude. 

It’s the kind of thing that happens by accident sometimes but is often attributed to great coaches because their teams unlock that formula more often than not. 

RELATED: 7 things to know about Ohio State’s new coach

Holtmann is off to a hell of a start, obviously, and regardless of how this season ends it is a big deal because it could pay dividends down the road when it comes to the most important factor in winning in college basketball: Recruiting… 

  

A busy signing day was marred by bad weather, but the area’s uncommitted big three all made their choices anyway: Springfield’s Leonard Taylor and Dunbar’s Tavion Thomas are headed to Cincinnati while Trotwood-Madison’s Ra’veion Hargrove signed with Bowling Green. 

I see all three of these guys as having the potential to play at Power 5 schools, but there’s something to be said for having the chance to dominate outside the highest tier in college football. I see all three of them as having that potential. 

Coverage: Signing Day

•  Dunbar’s Thomas signs with Cincinnati 

• Local stars make final signing plans 

• Signing Day: List of area committments 

• Ohio State: Buckeyes land touted group

• Mom walks out on son after she disagrees with pick

Of course, the bigger news in area high school sports came after those guys had signed as Mike Hartsock and Marc Pendleton broke the news the GWOC is apparently going to break up. 

If I had attended one of these schools, I might have strong feelings on this, but at this point I can’t say I do. 

I graduated from one of the small schools nearby right before the last round of conference mergers started, so they’ve always seemed a bit foreign to me. 

I suppose one of the problems with changing conferences is whatever you end up with lacks the emotional attachment of what came before, and that makes it easier to split apart when fissures inevitably occur. 

Let me know what you think via emailTwitter or Facebook. 

Ohio State football also managed to make headlines despite having most of its class wrapped up long ago. 

Urban Meyer burnished his reputation as a strong closer by reeling in a five-star offensive tackle on signing day. 

We also got a good bit of news on the coaching front with talk about Greg Schiano staying, Kerry Coombs leaving, Alex Grinch arriving and more. 

Check it out here… 

And lastly there are those pesky Dayton Flyers. 

The women’s team kept rolling with a convincing win at UMass, the men’s squad looked great, too. 

The latter dominated Duquesne for most of the night, winning 88-73 at UD Arena

At the risk of being obvious, that is the ideal (realistic) formula for success for Anthony Grant’s Flyers. 

The old guys (Darrell Davis and Josh Cunningham) combined for 41 points and 14 rebounds, the freshmen guards (Jordan Davis and Jalen Crutcher) combined for 26 points and 14 assists while the glue guy (Trey Landers) stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, nine assists and four rebounds. 

That brings us back to where we have been multiple times already this year: Wondering how many more times can they do that again before the season is over. 

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Only one player missing from start of Bengals OTAs

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 2:19 PM

The Ohio riverfront was again the site of football Monday when the Bengals began 2018 OTAs outside Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Bengals opened voluntary OTA practices Tuesday with 90 of the 91 players on the roster present.

The only one missing was defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who has not been be present for any of the voluntary offseason team activities the last six weeks.

›› JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Like our Cincinnati Bengals News Now Facebook page

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis downplayed Dunlap’s absence, saying “it’s not a story.” Lewis said he has been in contact with Dunlap but does not know if the nine-year veteran, who is entering the final year of his contract, will attend the mandatory minicamp June 12-14.

“I haven’t asked Carlos whether he will be here for minicamp,” Lewis said. “It’s not a story. It’s not a big deal.”

By not attending OTAs, Dunlap is forfeiting a $300,000 workout clause in his contract.

›› 6 things to watch for in Bengals OTAs

Among the players who were limited in Tuesday’s practice were safety Shawn Williams, who participated in position drills but was limited to running sprints between plays during 11 on 11 drills, tackle Jake Fisher and tight end Tyler Eifert.

Fisher missed the final eight games of 2017 with a heart issue, while Eifert missed the final 14 games with a back injury that required surgery.

›› Two Bengals rookies share inconceivable bond

Rookie center Billy Price, the first-round pick from Ohio State, participated in install drills but no active 11-on-11 plays as he recovers from the torn pectoral he suffered at the Combine.

Two players who only did side rehab work were tight end Tyler Kroft and rookie wide receiver Auden Tate, who was a full participant in rookie camp for the two practices that were open to the media.

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Reds improve to 3-0 in Matt Harvey’s starts

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 11:05 PM

Reds starter Matt Harvey pitches against the Pirates on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Reds starter Matt Harvey pitches against the Pirates on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

The Cincinnati Reds improved to 3-0 in games started by Matt Harvey, the former New York Mets ace who delivered one of his best performances of the season Tuesday in his first appearance as a Red at Great American Ball Park.

Harvey allowed one earned run on three hits in six innings as the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 in the opener of a three-game series. He left the bases loaded in the first and retired the side in order in the third, fifth and sixth innings.

» RELATED: Lorenzen expected to return to bullpen Wednesday

This was Harvey’s longest outing as a Red. He lasted four innings in his first two starts. He lowered his ERA from 6.17 to 5.49 and picked up his first victory of the season.

“There were times this year when I didn’t think I was going to get another win in the big leagues,” Harvey said, “so it was good to get one on the board.”

» PHOTOS: Reds vs. Pirates

The Pirates loaded the bases with one out against Harvey in the first but didn’t score. Corey Dickerson flied out to center field, and Colin Moran struck out to end the inning.

“I think being the first home game, I was a little amped up in the first and kind of got all out of sorts,” Harvey said. “That could have gone the wrong way obviously.”

Big picture: The Reds improved to 17-32. Their .347 winning percentage, if it stands up, would be the second worst in franchise history. They are on pace to finish 56-106.

Big hit: Scooter Gennett hit a grand slam in the fifth to give the Reds a 6-2 lead. He has five grand slams in two seasons with the Reds. He’s tied for seventh for most grand slams in franchise history. He added two more RBIs and is tied for the team lead with Eugenio Suarez with 33 RBIs.

Strong start: Gennett and Eugenio Suarez hit back-to-back RBI doubles to give the Reds a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

» RELATED: Reds add another rookie to roster

Missed chance: The Pirates loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. Reds reliever David Hernandez got out of the jam with a popout and groundout.

Career milestone: Joey Votto received an intentional walk Tuesday for the 135th time in his career, tying him with Johnny Bench for the Reds record. Bench reached the mark in 8,674 plate appearances. Votto needed 6,346.

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Lorenzen expected to return to Reds bullpen on Wednesday

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 5:43 PM

Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen is introduced before a game against the Nationals on Opening Day on Friday, March 30, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen is introduced before a game against the Nationals on Opening Day on Friday, March 30, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen, who has spent the entire season on the disabled list, should rejoin the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday after making three rehab appearances with Double-A Pensacola.

Lorenzen was in the Reds clubhouse on Tuesday before the start of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park.

» RELATED: Reds add another rookie to roster

“It feels good to almost be back,” Lorenzen said. “I think all parties are happy. I think the training staff is sick of me arguing with them and debating with them when I should be back. I’m excited to finally be here and see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

A right shoulder strain sidelined Lorenzen in spring training. He allowed one hit and no runs in four innings with Pensacola. His two-inning outing Sunday was the last hurdle before his return.

“I feel great with one day off,” Lorenzen said. “I feel good to go (Tuesday).”

» PITCHING STRUGGLES: Starters continue to hold Reds back

Lorenzen said it was the Reds’ decision to not activate him Tuesday. The move is expected to come Wednesday. He said he wanted to pitch three weeks ago. He has felt great for a while now.

“I want to be out there seeing the guys play,” Lorenzen said. “ It’s tough to watch. With (Jared) Hughes and the leadership in the bullpen, they were able to do a real good job without me.”

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Dayton’s Benjamin to play Tulane senior in first round of NCAA championships

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:20 PM

Dayton tennis player Jordan Benjamin. Photo courtesy of University of Dayton
Staff Writer
Dayton tennis player Jordan Benjamin. Photo courtesy of University of Dayton(Staff Writer)

Dayton Flyers junior Jordan Benjamin will face Tulane senior Constantin Schmitz at 8 a.m.  Wednesday in the first round of the NCAA tennis championship at Wake Forest University. The bracket was announced Tuesday.

Benjamin will be the first UD tennis player to play in the national tournament.

» RELATED: Benjamin makes UD history

Benjamin finished the regular season 16-0 in dual matches. He’s 20-1 overall in singles play. He was named A-10 Performer of the Year. He ranks 121st in the International Tennis Association Division I rankings.

Schmitz, a native of Germany, ranks 15th in the nation. He’s 28-8 in singles play.

“I’ve been training hard these last couple days, and I will continue to do so in the upcoming weeks,” Benjamin said earlier this month. “My goal is to win a couple rounds. The dream would be to win it all, but you’ve got to make some small goals. I think these first couple rounds will be very winnable. I have to stay focused, prepare very well and let my tennis do the talking.”

Benjamin or Schmitz will play Georgia Tech’s Carlos Divar, who ranks 55th, or Memphis’ Ryan Peniston, who ranks 36th.

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