Marc Loving

Joey King, Marc Loving

Suspended Ohio State sophomore forward to return Saturday at Michigan State

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No. 23 Ohio State has played its last three games, two of which have been wins with the other being a two-point loss at Purdue, without its second-leading scorer in sophomore forward Marc Loving. According to Dom Tiberi of WBNS-TV in Columbus, Loving will be available when the Buckeyes visit Michigan State on Saturday.

“Thad Matta just told me Marc Loving will play on Saturday at Michigan State. He is not sure how much playing time he will get,” Tiberi said via Twitter Thursday afternoon.

Loving’s averaging 11.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, shooting 49.1% from the field, 53.2% from three and 79.7% from the foul line. Without Loving, freshman Jae’Sean Tate has continued to play good basketball after moving into the starting lineup prior to Loving’s suspension (he replaced Loving).

Over his last five games Tate is averaging 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, and he’s scored 20 points in two of those contests. Tate isn’t the three-point shooter that Loving is, but his effort has certainly had an impact on Ohio State in recent games.

Ohio State sophomore forward will miss second straight game

Joey King, Marc Loving
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Ohio State sophomore forward Marc Loving did not make the trip to West Lafayette for the team’s game at Purdue Wednesday night, as he was suspended indefinitely by head coach Thad Matta. And according to Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch, Loving will miss a second consecutive game when the Buckeyes visit Rutgers on Sunday.

Matta said Wednesday that the reason for the suspension was “off-court,” but neither he nor the athletic department has revealed further details. Loving’s father has not returned messages seeking comment.

Matta announced the news Friday afternoon. Averaging 11.7 points per game, Loving is the team’s second-leading scorer and also their top three-point shooter. Without him, Ohio State needs another perimeter scoring option to step forward while he’s out of the lineup.

Ohio State shot 42 percent from the field in their 60-58 loss to Purdue Wednesday night, making just four of their 15 three-point attempts. The Buckeyes will be expected to take care of Rutgers even without Loving, but the Scarlet Knights did manage to upset Wisconsin at The RAC earlier this season.

Chase for 180: Corey Hawkins turns UC Davis into a Big West contender

UC Davis v Washington State
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The “Chase for 180″ is back for a second year, and for those who may not be familiar with the project it’s our attempt to identify some of the best shooters in America. But what makes one an “elite shooter?” For some it’s merely the ability to knock down perimeter shots at a high rate, but that isn’t the case for all players. High-level shooting requires proficiency from three, the field overall, and from the foul line. 

“180” refers to the resulting number when adding a player’s field goal, three-point and free throw percentages, with the best shooters either approaching or surpassing that mark. 50 percent or better from the field overall, 40 percent or better from three and 90 percent or better from the foul line. This achievement has occurred more often in college basketball than it has in the NBA, where just six players (Steve Nash did it in four different seasons) have done it in the history of the league. 

We’ll update this list throughout the season, with players also needing to qualify to be ranked by the NCAA in each of the three percentage categories in order to be considered. In order to qualify to be ranked a player needs to have played in at least 75 percent of his team’s games and have averaged: 

  • five or more field goal attempts per game;
  • two or more three-point attempts per game;
  • 2.5 or more free throw attempts per game.

To read prior installments of the Chase for 180, click here

While UC Davis senior guard Corey Hawkins was a preseason all-conference selection back in October, his team was picked to finish seventh in the Big West by the league’s media. However to this point in the season Jim Les’ team has exceeded those expectations, as they’re 16-4 overall and part of a three-way tie for first in the Big West with a 6-1 record. And as expected Hawkins has been a big reason why the Aggies have been so successful, as he’s averaging 21.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

Hawkins has been a prolific scorer in each of his three seasons at UC Davis after transferring in from Arizona State, but the difference now is that he’s a more efficient player. Hawkins averaged 18.0 points per game in 2013-14, which is a good number, but he did so shooting 44.4% from the field and 32.2% from beyond the arc. Through 20 games this season Hawkins’ shooting percentages are 51.2% (field) and 52.6% (three-pointers), and he’s also shooting 80.6% from the foul line.

According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers Hawkins’ offensive rating is up to 122.2 this season after finishing the 2013-14 campaign with a rating of 108.3, and that jump is one reason why UC Davis has improved significantly on the offensive end of the floor. UC Davis is ranked third nationally in effective field goal percentage (59.1%), fourth in field goal percentage (50.1%) and first in three-point percentage (45.4%), and they’re ranked 25th in offensive efficiency (not adjusted) after ranking 23oth in that category a season ago.

With Josh Ritchart (12.4 ppg) being the only other Aggie averaging double figures and Josh Fox at 9.4 ppg, a lot is asked of Hawkins (who also leads the team in rebounding and assists) on that end of the floor. Yet even with the attention that opposing teams pay him, Hawkins has flourished for a team that has a realistic shot at its first NCAA tournament berth as a member of the Big West.

In wins over UCSB and Cal Poly last week Hawkins averaged 25.0 points per game, shooting 53.1% from the field and 64.3% from beyond the arc while also averaging 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per. UC Davis’ schedule down the stretch will be tougher, beginning with a road game at UC Irvine Thursday night and remaining games against Long Beach State, Hawaii (which gave them their lone conference loss) and a rematch with UC Irvine.

But if Hawkins can continue to play as he has to this point in the season, Jim Les’ team will be a factor in the Big West title race. And given his ability to shoot the basketball, Hawkins is the kind of player who can carry a team through a conference tournament.

50-40-90 Players

Jack Gibbs (Davidson)
51.7% FG, 41.4% 3PT, 90.8% FT = 183.9

Gibbs remains sidelined due to a slight tear of the meniscus in his knee.

He’s Close to 50-40-90 Status

Derrick Marks (Boise State)
52.7%, 54.7%, 83.8% = 191.2

Marks (23 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field) was too much for Utah State on Tuesday, helping to propel Boise State to its first-ever win in Logan after losing their last 18 games there.

Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington) 
50.5%, 47.6%, 86.1% = 184.2

Harvey shot just 4-for-13 from the field in the Eagles’ win over Idaho on Saturday, and he’ll need a better performance Thursday night at Montana.

Seven More “180” Players

Corey Hawkins (UC Davis)
51.2%, 52.6%, 80.6% = 184.4

Jacob Parker (Stephen F. Austin)
55.6%, 44.9%, 81.8% = 182.3

The Lumberjacks still haven’t lost since late November, and Parker’s shot 50 percent or better from the field in each of the last six games.

Marc Loving (Ohio State)
49.1%, 53.2%, 79.7% = 182.0

Loving didn’t make the trip with the team Wednesday night, and the Buckeyes could have used his shooting as they lost by two at Purdue.

Alec Peters (Valparaiso) 
50.5%, 46.3%, 84.8% = 181.6

In the Crusaders’ three-game win streak Peters has shot 22-for-36 (61.1%) from the field and 7-for-15 (46.7%) from three.

Tim Huskisson (Northern Colorado) 
50.8%, 45.0%, 77.3% = 180.3

Huskisson shot 5-for-11 in a 2-0 week for the Bears, which included a win over Weber State on Saturday.

Justin Anderson (Virginia)
49.7%, 50.0%, 80.6% = 180.3

Anderson bounced back from his showing in the Cavaliers’ loss to No. 4 Duke, shooting 6-for-10 from the field (3-for-5 3PT) in a win at No. 12 North Carolina Monday night.

Rayvonte Rice (Illinois)
51.5%, 48.3%, 80.3% = 180.1

Rice was expected to return to the court against Rutgers, but he and teammate Aaron Cosby were suspended by head coach John Groce.

 

Ohio State sophomore forward won’t play Wednesday night at Purdue

Joey King, Marc Loving
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Through 22 games Ohio State sophomore forward Marc Loving has made 19 starts and he’s the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.7 points per game and shooting 49.1% from the field and 53.2% from three. However the 20th-ranked Buckeyes won’t have Loving when they play at Purdue Wednesday night, as it was announced that he did not make the trip to West Lafayette.

According to the school, Loving has “temporarily lost his privilege to wear the Scarlet and Gray.”

No further details were given as to how long Loving will be away from the team.

Loving scored 19 points in Ohio State’s last game, an 80-56 home win over Maryland last Thursday. Loving’s ability to hit perimeter shots helps the Buckeyes from a spacing standpoint, and this is a key personnel loss given how good Purdue has been defensively in Big Ten play.

The Boilermakers currently lead the conference in field goal percentage defense (38.7%) and they’re fifth in the conference in three-point percentage defense (33.6%). Freshman D’Angelo Russell (45.4%) is now Ohio State’s best available three-point shooter, with sophomore Kam Williams and freshman Keita Bates-Diop both shooting 38.5% on the season.

D’Angelo Russell wasn’t the only freshman to step forward for Ohio State Thursday night

Morehead State v Ohio State
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Thursday’s matchup between No. 16 Maryland and Ohio State was billed by many as a showdown between freshman guards Melo Trimble and D’Angelo Russell and rightfully so, as both have been stars for their respective teams this season. The play of those two had a major impact on the game, with Trimble struggling mightily (as did his teammates) and Russell countering with 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.

The Buckeyes won 80-56, with Maryland shooting just 30.5% from the field and Trimble accounting for just three points (0-for-8 FG) and one assist. Marc Loving (19 points, 5-for-5 3PT) led Ohio State in scoring, and another freshman stepped forward to give the Buckeyes the effort (and toughness) they’ve lacked in the paint at times this season.

Jae’Sean Tate, a 6-foot-4 freshman forward making his third consecutive start, accounted for 16 points and eight rebounds with five of the caroms being of the offensive variety. As a team Ohio State rebounded just over 42 percent of its misses against Maryland, converting those extra opportunities into 18 second-chance points.

“I thought we played tougher, we were quick to the ball, we got a little careless there in transition in the second half, but for the most part, I thought guys did what they were supposed to do,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said after the game. “I think we rebounded the ball well, we rebounded out of our area. I thought we did a good job of the rotations defensively and walled guys up.”

Finding consistent play in the front court has been something that Ohio State has worked to do all season long. Graduate transfer Anthony Lee, who averaged 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game at Temple last season, hasn’t been as productive for the Buckeyes and senior Amir Williams (6.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg) was recently removed from the starting lineup.

Someone had to step forward, and despite being undersized from a height standpoint Tate (who leads the team in offensive rebounds per game at 1.9) has been that man in each of the last two games.

Tate’s performance against Maryland comes on the heels of his 20-point, six-rebound effort in Ohio State’s win over Indiana on Sunday. Whether or not Tate continues to score at this clip remains to be seen, but at the very least the Buckeyes need him to bring the energy that he’s supplied in each of their last two games. If Tate can continue to provide that spark, Ohio State will have a better chance of accounting for their lack of consistent production in the post.

Chase for 180: Marc Loving’s game-winner the latest step in his development

Iowa v Ohio State
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The “Chase for 180″ is back for a second year, and for those who may not be familiar with the project it’s our attempt to identify some of the best shooters in America. But what makes one an “elite shooter?” For some it’s merely the ability to knock down perimeter shots at a high rate, but that isn’t the case for all players. High-level shooting requires proficiency from three, the field overall, and from the foul line. 

“180” refers to the resulting number when adding a player’s field goal, three-point and free throw percentages, with the best shooters either approaching or surpassing that mark. 50 percent or better from the field overall, 40 percent or better from three and 90 percent or better from the foul line. This achievement has occurred more often in college basketball than it has in the NBA, where just six players (Steve Nash did it in four different seasons) have done it in the history of the league. 

We’ll update this list throughout the season, with players also needing to qualify to be ranked by the NCAA in each of the three percentage categories in order to be considered. In order to qualify to be ranked a player needs to have played in at least 75 percent of his team’s games and have averaged: 

  • five or more field goal attempts per game;
  • two or more three-point attempts per game;
  • 2.5 or more free throw attempts per game.

To read prior installments of the Chase for 180, click here

With the loss of their top three scorers from a team that won 25 games a season ago, Ohio State had some questions to answer heading into the 2014-15 campaign. Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell has emerged as the team’s primary scoring option, with Shannon Scott being the team’s best distributor and the athletic Sam Thompson emerging as a double-digit scorer in his final season.

While the addition of Russell has been the biggest key for the 22nd-ranked Buckeyes, it progression of sophomore forward Marc Loving is another reason why they’re 13-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten.

To describe Loving as a bit player last season would be accurate, as he accounted for 4.4 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over ten minutes of action per game. With the departure of leading scorers LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Aaron Craft it was obvious that more scoring opportunities would be available, and to Loving’s credit he’s taken full advantage thus far. Loving’s now averaging 12.3 points per game, shooting well from the field (52.1%), from three (54.5%) and from the foul line (83.3%).

Those numbers are all far superior to what Loving posted as a freshman, as he’s shown himself to be capable of not only handling an increased workload but also doing so in an efficient manner. Loving’s true shooting (up to 69.8% from 51.2%) and effective field goal (66.4% from 43.2%) percentages have increased substantially, and per hoop-math.com the sophomore has also improved his field goal percentage around the rim by some 24 percentage points (69.2% after making 45.2% of those shots last season).

As a result Loving’s scored in double figures in 13 of Ohio State’s 16 games, which includes a current streak of seven straight with the sophomore scoring 13 in the Buckeyes’ 74-72 overtime win at Minnesota Tuesday night. By comparison Loving reached double figures just four times all of last season, with two of those games coming in Big Ten contests in early January. The strides made between his freshman and sophomore seasons have positioned Loving as a player the Buckeyes have no issue giving scoring opportunities to, even if he isn’t their primary scoring option.

Tuesday night, that confidence resulted in a game-winning basket.

50-40-90 Club

Jack Gibbs (Davidson)
54.4% FG, 44.1% 3PT, 92.1% FT = 190.6
Gibbs is one of the reasons why the Wildcats are off to a 10-3 start despite being picked to finish 12th in the Atlantic 10.

He’s Really Close

Marcus Marshall (Missouri State)
47.4% FG, 47.7% 3PT, 89.1% FT = 184.2
Marshall didn’t have his best night in the Bears’ loss at Indiana State, scoring 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting.

Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga)
50.4, 46.2, 86.4 = 183.0
The senior continues to balance efficient shooting with running the show for one of the best teams in the country.

Ten More “180” Players

1. Derrick Marks (Boise State)
52.2% FG, 57.7% 3PT, 84.4% FT = 194.8
With Anthony Drmic (back/ankle) out for the remainder of the year, Marks becomes even more important for the Broncos.

2. Marc Loving (Ohio State)
52.1, 54.5, 83.3 = 189.9

3. Justin Anderson (Virginia)
53.7, 56.7, 77.3 = 187.7
Anderson shot just 5-for-14 in the Cavaliers’ win over NC State, including a 4-for-9 night from distance.

4. Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington)
51.6, 50.0, 82.5 = 184.1
Saturday’s 4-for-12 night in a win over Idaho State ended a streak of four straight games in which Harvey shot 63 percent or better from the field.

5. Corey Hawkins (UC Davis)
50.6, 48.6, 81.7 = 180.9
Hawkins scored 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting in the Aggies’ win over CSUN.

6. Sean Sellers (Ball State)
45.5, 47.9, 87.5 = 180.9
Sellers’ game-winner pushed the Cardinals past Eastern Michigan in overtime Wednesday night, but he’s shot 38.5% or worse from the field in four of the last five games.

7. Alec Wintering (Portland)
46.4, 50.0, 84.4 = 180.8
The sophomore followed up a 30-point outing in a loss at BYU with 20 in the Pilots’ loss to No. 7 Gonzaga on Saturday.

8. Alec Peters (Valparaiso)
50.5, 46.5, 83.6 = 180.6
Peters has hit a rough patch these last two games, shooting 9-for-29 from the field.

9. Frank Mason III (Kansas)
48.8, 48.7, 82.5 = 180.0
Mason’s performed better than many expected, and he’s shot 50 percent or better from the field in five of his last seven games.