Ohio State Opens New Hoops Arena
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ One thing is certain: No one will ever mistake Ohio State’s new Schottenstein Center for old, gray St. John Arena.
The $110 million arena played host to its first official event Tuesday night when the men’s basketball team opened its exhibition season with a convincing 107-75 victory over One World Basketball before an enthusiastic crowd of 12,280, about 7,000 below capacity.
But the game, featuring a remolded Buckeyes team that went 1-15 in the Big Ten last year, wasn’t the reason for the electric atmosphere.
The building was the star of the night.
``When you first walk into this arena, you can’t get over the surroundings,″ Ohio State coach Jim O’Brien said. ``I’m looking forward to the day when we get this place rocking.″
``I’m breathless,″ Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said. ``I don’t know how to put it into words. This is a collection of visions that have come together from staff, architects and planners.″
``We’re tremendously excited about tonight,″ said senior associate athletics director Paul Krebs, who was the university’s point man on the facility. ``Tonight the torch is being passed from construction people to event-management staff.″
St. John Arena, Ohio State’s home for 42 seasons, was a mass of dingy aluminum and gray concrete. The new place is bright, brick and colorful, with 52 private boxes, 250 television monitors, seat licenses that cost up to $15,000 apiece and more than 700,000 square feet of space.
The arena received glowing reviews from Ohio State’s players.
``It’s a shooter’s court,″ Michael Redd said after scoring 25 points to lead five Buckeyes in double figures. ``It’s just a great atmosphere.″
For those who had been working daily on the structure, it was a nervous moment.
``It’s been a long process. I’ve been involved for four years,″ Krebs said. ``The last 18 months are a blur, with the bulk of my time spent on the arena. I’m excited about tonight. I haven’t slept well in six months.″