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OSU men rally to win in opening round

Buckeye fans of all ages gathered at the Varsity Club on Lane Avenue to watch today's first-round game against Davidson University. An older man sat nervously with a small child while Ohio State trailed early in the game. A young couple dressed in Buckeye jerseys clenched each other's shirts as guard Jamal Butler shot one of his many threes-point attempts. Despite their appearance, everyone maintained they were confident in OSU. Student Jed Birch said he thinks this year's team is even better than the 1999 team that made it to the Final Four.

"I see a lot of similarities (to the 1999 team), but I think the talent overall now is a lot better," Birch says. "I think that we have a better coach now, too. I think it's a much better team than we had in '99."

The 1999 team was led by several seniors and an outstanding center in Ken Johnson. This year's team is led by 3 fifth-year seniors, including Big Ten Player of the Year Terrence Dials. Dials got off to a good start with two baskets in the first five minutes. The rest of the team wasn't fairing as well, though, and Ohio State was down by 5 at the half. OSU student Brett Lurie was watching the game at the Varsity Club with some friends. He blamed bad calls by the referees and poor shooting by OSU.

"I think the refs are not doing their job, and they're not making very good calls," Lurie said. "I think when we shoot 1-for-45 from 3-point range, you're not going to win very many games."

But the shots started to fall in the second half. Junior guard Ron Lewis scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, and Terrence Dials hit two shots in the waining minutes to bring the final score to 70 to 62. OSU will now face Georgetown in the second round Sunday. Campus-area resident Sam Fox said for the first time in a long time, he's excited about college basketball.

"I'm excited. I'm excited about Ohio State basketball for the first time in the last eight years," Fox said. "I'm thinking they might go to the Final Four. I think they can go all the way."