COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 3-ranked Ohio State men's lacrosse team (14-4, 3-2/t-2nd B1G) will face No. 6 Duke (13-4, 3-1 ACC) in the 2017 NCAA Championship quarterfinals at noon Saturday in James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. The Buckeyes, an at-large selection, are the tournament's No. 3 seed and have advanced to the quarterfinals for the third time in five years.
ESPNU will televise the game, also available on WatchESPN, with Mike Corey and Matt Ward calling the action. Live stats and periodic ingame Twitter updates at @OhioState_MLAX are also available.
NCAA Tourney Talk
• Ohio State earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament and is making the sixth appearance in program history, including the third in five years.
• The winner of the game between the Buckeyes and Blue Devils will advance to the semifinals, where it will take on the winner of a game between No. 2 seed Syracuse and Towson at noon or 2:30 p.m. May 27 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. The final is slated for 1 p.m. May 29 in Foxboro.
• Ohio State, hosted the second NCAA Tournament game in program history Sunday, defeating Loyola 7-4 in the opening round in Ohio Stadium.
• The Buckeyes' last appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 2015 as an at-large selection, when it defeated Duke on the road in the first round, 16-11, before falling to eventual national champion Denver in the quarterfinals, 15-13, in Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High in Denver.
• Ohio State reached the NCAA quarterfinals in 2013 after earning the ECAC's automatic berth into the field with the league's tournament title. Ohio State was an at-large selection in 2008 (when it reached the quarterfinals for the first time) and 2003 and received the Great Western Lacrosse League's automatic berth as the regular-season champion in 2004.
• Ohio State had six regular season/conference tournament wins over teams in the 2017 NCAA bracket -- No. 1 Maryland, No. 5 Denver, No. 6 Johns Hopkins (twice), Marquette and Towson.
Last Time Out
• Ohio State defeated No. 13/10 Loyola, 7-4, in Ohio Stadium Sunday in the first round of the NCAA Championship.
• The Buckeyes led the Greyhounds 2-0 after the first quarter and 3-2 at halftime. Ohio State, which led by one or two from midway through the first quarter, pulled ahead by two with 4:11 left in the third quarter and made the lead stand. Ohio State shut out Loyola for the final 23:48 for the victory and Buckeye senior goalie Tom Carey made 12 saves in the win. Junior Ben Randall, who had three groundballs and a caused turnover, led the defensive unit which limited Loyola to nearly nine goals under its season average. Ohio State leading scorer Tre Leclaire had a game-high three goals and points.
In the Rankings
• Ohio State was ranked third in the USILA coaches poll and Inside Lacrosse media rankings entering the NCAA Tournament, standing fifth in the US Lacrosse Magazine poll.
• Duke was No. 6 in the coaches and media polls and fifth in the US Lacrosse Magazine rankings.
• Starting with Towson and Denver over spring break, the Buckeyes are in a stretch of 10 of 11 games against teams currently in the Top 20 in the USILA poll (current rankings): No. 1 Maryland, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 6 Duke, No. 7 Denver, No. 8 Penn State, No. 9 Johns Hopkins, No. 11 Towson and No. 12 Rutgers. In the Inside Lacrosse rankings, seven teams are in the Top 20: Maryland is No. 1, Denver No. 5, Notre Dame No. 7, Duke No. 6, Penn State No. 8, Johns Hopkins No. 11, Towson No. 12 and Rutgers No. 15.
Buckeyes vs. Blue Devils
• All-time, Ohio State and Duke have met nine times, with the Blue Devils posting seven wins.
• Saturday will be the third NCAA Tournament matchup between the teams. The teams met in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Championship, a 16-11 win by the Buckeyes in Durham over the No. 5 Blue Devils. In the 2008 quarterfinals in Ithaca, N.Y., the top-seeded Blue Devils posted a 21-10 victory. • Ohio State's first win over Duke came April 3, 2004 in Columbus, 16-9. The Buckeyes also topped the Blue Devils 9-6 March 20, 1975 in the Hero's Lacrosse Tournament in Chapel Hill, a game that did not count in the Buckeyes' final record that year.
• Other regular season meetings between the teams include wins in Durham by Duke in 2005, 2000, 1985 and 1972 and neutral site matchups won by Duke in 1989 and 1983.
• Buckeye associate head coach Brad Ross, in his third season on the Ohio state staff, was a three-time All-American and two-time captain for the Blue Devils. During his five year career, he was part of three ACC titles (2007, `08, `09) and the team reached the NCAA semifinals four times. Ross was part of an NCAA-record 73 wins and had 102 points in his career (76g, 26a). He played for the Blue Devils in the 2008 NCAA Tournament game vs. Ohio State, scoring three goals on eight shots and adding an assist for four points.
• Current Buckeyes that played vs. Duke in the 2015 NCAA Tournament first round game include Tom Carey, Colin Chell, John Kelly, Erik Evans, Trevor Hodgins, JT Blubaugh, Jake Withers, Johnny Pearson and Brendan Barger.
The Last Meeting - Buckeyes Down Blue Devils in NCAA Tournament
• Ohio State defeated No. 5 seed Duke, 16-11, May 5, 2015 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Durham, N.C.
• The Buckeyes trailed the Blue Devils 2-1 at the end of the first quarter and 3-1 early in the second before going on a six-goal run to take a 7-3 lead into halftime. The Buckeyes scored four of the first six goals to open the third quarter to push the lead to 11-5, with two goals in the final 2:28 putting Ohio State ahead 13-6 at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes scored three times and Duke scored five goals, with three in the final 4:03, for the 16-11 final.
• Duke had the edge in shots (35-34), groundballs (37-29) and faceoffs (17-12) in the game.
• Duke enters the game 13-4 overall, with a 19-6 win at Johns Hopkins in the first round of the NCAA Championship.
• The Blue Devils are averaging 13.18 goals a game to rank seventh in the NCAA in scoring offense and are allowing 7.94 per contest to rank fifth in scoring defense. The man-up unit is 23-for-45 (.650), ranking sixth in the NCAA, and the man-down defense is 32-for-45 (.696). The squad is second in the NCAA in shooting percentage (.354).
• Justin Guterding is third in the NCAA in points per game (5.47), with a team-high 49 goals, 44 assists and 93 points. Jack Bruckner is second with 44 goals and 61 points and third with 17 assists. Brad Smith is second with 18 assists, ranking third with 37 points, and Joey Manown stands third in goals (28) and fourth in points (36).
• Kyle Rowe has won 202-of-339 (.596) faceoffs and has a team-high 118 groundballs. In goal, Danny Fowler has a 12-4 ledger while playing in 17 games, with an 8.83 goals-against average and .537 save percentage.
Buckeye Trophy Case
• Five Buckeyes were recognized with Big Ten honors, with two player of the year awards and five players on the all-conference first and second teams combined.
• Senior Jake Withers earned Big Ten Specialist of the Year accolades for the second year in a row and Tre Leclaire was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Withers is the first Big Ten player to earn two player of the year awards. Leclaire is the first Buckeye named a conference rookie of the year since Carter Brown in 2013.
• Senior goalie Tom Carey and senior attackman Eric Fannell joined Withers, a faceoff specialist, on the All-Big Ten First Team, while Leclaire, an attackman, and junior defenseman Ben Randall are both Second Team All-Big Ten.
• In addition, senior Tyler Pfister was the recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for Ohio State men's lacrosse.
• Withers earned his second consecutive spot on the All-Big Ten First Team, while Carey was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten choice in 2015.
• Inside Lacrosse released its inaugural All-Americans last week. Randall was a second team honoree, Withers was named to the third team and Carey and Leclaire were both honorable mention selections.
• Tyler Pfister was named one of 10 finalists for the Yeardley Reynolds Love Unsung Hero Award, presented by the One Love Foundation. The award recognizes the accomplishments of two Division I lacrosse players (one male, one female) who demonstrate dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship - all qualities that Yeardley Love exemplified throughout her life. These student-athletes make a significant contribution to the team in ways that may not be measured in goals, saves or groundballs.
In the Record Book
• The Buckeyes are 14-4 overall, tying for the second-most wins in program history. The 1965 team holds the record with 15 victories, while the 1966 and 1978 teams also had 14 wins. The squad was 12-3 at the end of the regular season, the first time since 2004 the team had at least 12 wins before the postseason.
• Tre Leclaire has 44 goals and 58 points this season, the most goals and points for a Buckeye rookie all-time.
• Leclaire's goals are tied for the sixth-most for a Buckeye in a single year and are the most since Logan Schuss had 44 in 2013 when the Buckeyes reached the quarterfinals. Leclaire's 58 points rank 15th for a Buckeye in a single season.
• Senior Eric Fannell has 27 assists this year, three shy of tying for 10th in school history.
• Senior goalie Tom Carey, who made his 50th start as a Buckeye vs. Loyola, is ninth in Ohio State history with 464 career saves.
• Senior Jake Withers set the program record for career groundballs earlier this season and now has 323 groundballs for the Scarlet and Gray. He has 131 this season, the second-most since at least 1999 (behind Christopher May who had 133 in 2015). Withers had 110 groundballs last season and is the first Buckeye with 100+ in more than one season.
• Senior JT Blubaugh has played in a Buckeye-record 66 games in the Scarlet and Gray, passing Robby Haus and Carter Brown who both played in 65 from 2013-16.
Complete notes in the PDF above