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Ohio State hoops now preparing for Rutgers after postponement of Penn State game

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
The Ohio State University athletic department logo, 2017. [provided by OSU]

The Ohio State men’s basketball team was about midway through Tuesday’s practice when it became clear something was amiss.

In preparation for a Wednesday home game with Penn State, the Buckeyes had been going over scouting reports, working on skills and trying keep up with their conditioning following a Sunday loss at Minnesota. Suddenly, the practice became a lot more physical, and the usual contact that would mark practices in advance of a game returned.

The situation quickly dawned on them: the Penn State game was off. It marked the second time the Buckeyes have had a game postponed or canceled this season due to COVID-19, and again it had nothing to do with them. Another positive test within the Nittany Lions program had led to the postponement of the game.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the broader community are of the utmost importance,” read an official statement issued jointly by Ohio State and Penn State.

The statement noted that as part of the protocols established by the Big Ten and the two schools along with local and national guidelines, "individuals with a positive test have been put into isolation. In addition to isolation, contact tracing procedures have been implemented, which includes quarantine and testing for those individuals who might have been exposed, even if asymptomatic.”

The Buckeyes had a nonconference game against Alabama A&M scheduled for Dec. 5 that was called off after the Bulldogs had at least one positive test upon arriving via bus a day before the game.

That game was canceled, but the plan is for the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions to reschedule the game at some point this season. Ohio State is scheduled to play at Penn State on Feb. 18.

This is the second consecutive Big Ten game to be postponed involving the Nittany Lions, who had a game against Wisconsin postponed last Saturday.

On his Monday radio show, Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said the Buckeyes’ medical staff had been in contact with their Penn State counterparts and that the game was still scheduled to be played.

When Penn State had another positive test, it forced the postponement. it is the third Big Ten game to be postponed due to COVID, joining Tuesday’s scheduled game between Purdue and Nebraska.

Ohio State remains on track to play at Rutgers on Saturday.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy