CHARLESTON, S.C. - Friday night's game between Ohio State and Marquette was declared a no-contest after wet court conditions forced the organizers of the game to call it off for fear of player safety. It was a disappointing decision for all involved but deemed to be the right one after the officials delayed the start of the game on numerous occasions as they tried to get the court dried.
Court conditions were fine for the first game of the day, a game that saw the Ohio State women's basketball team drop a game to Notre Dame, 57-51. There was an hour between the end of the women's game and the start of the men's game and during that time the court started to get damp and it was evident during warm-ups as players were sliding on the court.
"It is kind of a disappointing day," Executive Director of Morale Entertainment's Mike Whalen said after the game was called. "We had a good women's game, the court started developing condensation and it was our decision, my decision, that it was not safe to have student athletes play. Obviously it is very disappointing."
Both Ohio State and Marquette each have games on Sunday so there was no option to postpone the game until Saturday. This strange cancellation caught both teams off guard and both schools had to send for their team planes to get to Charleston early to come pick the teams up.
"This was a big time basketball game and obviously the circumstances, we tried to give it as much time as we could and the problem did not seem to go away," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. afterwards. "We could get it for a minute but we had to play for two hours. The best interest was not to put our guys in there, we play Sunday and they play Sunday."
Even with the loss of the game the experience was far from a loss for both programs who both used the chance to give back to the troops and the Wounded Warrior Project with funds earned through donations and time spent with the teams.
"We got to spend with the people that we came here to serve in the first place and thank them for what they do for us and our country," Ohio State guard Aaron Craft said.
The Buckeyes will head back to Columbus on Friday night and get ready for the next game at home against Albany. The game tips off at 2pm (EST) on Sunday and will be the first official game of the season for the Buckeyes. The loss of the game was disappointing for Ohio State but there was a bigger purpose to be served as well.
"I hope (the team) knows why we were here," Matta added. "Obviously we wanted to play, it is just one of those unfortunate circumstances."