- Associated Press - Monday, December 19, 2011

COLUMBUS, OHIO | Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, an Ohio State alum, will be honored at the second-ranked Buckeyes’ game Tuesday night against Lamar.

Could he also be a spy planted in the Buckeyes’ locker room?

“He’s going to be at practice today, but we have to code everything because his son coaches the other team,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said Monday.

Then, after a moment of silence, he cracked, “That’s a joke.”

Lamar (8-3) is coached by Knight’s son, Pat. When Ohio State (10-1) scheduled the game, it also figured to be an ideal time to honor one of college basketball’s greatest coaches with 902 wins at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech.

Matta also cleared up something else, perhaps saving Pat Knight some time drawing up alternate plans: Buckeyes star forward Jared Sullinger will play after injuring a tendon in his foot in the last game.

In a 74-66 win at South Carolina on Saturday, Sullinger left in the first half and was taken to a hospital for tests after hurting his left foot. He reappeared later on the bench with crutches. He tweeted after the game that he would practice the next day; except he didn’t.

Matta is convinced that Sullinger, who also missed two recent games with back spasms, will play.

“I’m expecting him to play, just from what he’s saying, how much better it felt yesterday than it did on Saturday and how much better it feels today than it did on Sunday,” said Matta, who picked up his 200th Ohio State win in Saturday’s game.

Initially, Sullinger thought he had been kicked on the ankle, but Matta said it was later determined that it was an injured tendon.

In his place, 6-foot-7 sophomore Deshaun Thomas had the game of his young life.

He hit 13 of 17 shots from the floor - he’s made his past 17 two-point field goals over two games - and was selected as the Big Ten’s player of the week for scoring a career-best 30 points.

Thomas has been on a roll lately for the Buckeyes, adding 23 points in a win over South Carolina Upstate.

He credits a heart-to-heart he and Matta had recently. The coach told him that he wasn’t coming to games mentally prepared. So he’s adopted a relaxing, but pointed way of getting ready. He listens to Lil Wayne during pregame to get focused.



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