Ohio State, Xavier to face off in Cincinnati

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State's Ron Lewis, 12, goes up for three to send the second-round NCAA game against Xavier into overtime at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, March 17, 2007. The Buckeyes pulled out the win 78-71. (Photo by Neal C. Lauron)

When he came to Ohio State, coach Chris Holtmann spoke of attempting to schedule non-conference games with power in-state programs Cincinnati, Dayton and Xavier.

Now he’s had one scheduled for him. Today, the Dispatch has confirmed a report announcing that the Buckeyes will go to Xavier to face the Musketeers on November 18 in the annual Gavitt Games. The game comes two years after Ohio State wrapped up a home-and-home series with Cincinnati, one the Buckeyes swept by winning at Cincinnati in 2018 and at Value City Arena in 2019.

Oral history:Buoyed by Ron Lewis’ shot, Buckeyes advance through NCAA Tournament to Sweet 16

"Xavier is a tremendous program with a rich history and passionate fan base," Holtmann said in a statement. "Playing against a good, well-coached team in that environment early in the season will be great for our 2021-22 team."

The game with the Musketeers will be the fifth between the two programs and their first regular-season meeting since the 1930s. The Buckeyes won 31-19 at Xavier on January 20, 1933, and again 31-28 on December 31, 1934.

Since then, the programs have twice met during the postseason with the most recent going down as one of the most memorable Ohio State games ever. A last-second shot by Ron Lewis forced overtime and No. 1 seed Ohio State went on to earn a 78-71 win against No. 9 seed Xavier during the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Kentucky. The game pitted the Musketeers against their former coach, Thad Matta, who was in his third season with the Buckeyes.

In between, Xavier beat Ohio State in the first round of the 1984 NIT, 60-57, in Cincinnati.

Most recently, the Buckeyes participated in the Gavitt Games two seasons ago when they beat No. 10 Villanova, 76-51, at Value City Arena on November 13, 2019. The year prior, they played at Creighton and won, 69-60, on November 15, 2018.

Ohio State is 4-0 all-time in the Gavitt Games, having beaten Providence, 72-67, at Value City Arena on November 17, 2016.

The remainder of Ohio State's 2021-22 non-conference schedule is expected to be released within the next week. The Buckeyes will play a pair of games in the Fort Myers Tip-Off during the week of Thanksgiving, will have a home game as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and participate in the CBSSports Classic.

The Buckeyes will also host New Orleans on December 28.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy