Sullinger's 40 Powers Buckeyes Past Jaguars

By Chris Lauderback on December 9, 2010 at 9:26p

Midway through the 2nd half, it looked like the story of the night might be that IUPUI had come to Columbus and pulled off a stunner. That story would never be written, however as Jared Sullinger set an OSU freshman record pouring in 40 points on the night, including 26 in the 2nd half powering a 34-14 closing run by the Buckeyes en route to a 75-64 victory.

The first 28 minutes were tough on the eyes as the Buckeyes showed little intensity at the defensive end while struggling to move the ball and create open looks against IUPUI's zone defense. Tied 35-35 at the break afer surrendering 52% shooting from the Jaguars, IUPUI hit their first five shots of the 2nd half before a 9-2 run pushed their lead to 50-41 with 12:46 to play.

Then, without warning, the Buckeyes decided to kick up the intensity. Jon Diebler opened the 34-14 spree with a triple from the left wing and after a Jaguar miss, a Buckeye fastbreak culminated in a dunk from Sulinger off a sweet dish in transition from Will Buford cutting the deficit to 50-46 at the 11:43 mark. IUPUI head coach Ron Hunter called a timeout to try and stem the tide but Buford would hit a nifty layup in traffic before Sullinger completely took over the game. The big man would score 12 of the next 15 Buckeye points hitting 4/4 from the floor and 4/6 from the line helping OSU take a 63-54 lead with 3:55 to play.

After the Jags answered a Lighty layup with a pair of free throws from Leroy Nobles and a triple from Alex Young cutting the lead to 65-59 with 3:08 remaining, Sullinger went back to work scoring eight of OSU's final 10 points capping a 10-2 run to finish the game. IUPUI simply had no answer for Sullinger's girth in the paint as evidenced by Christian Siakam fouling out in 13 minutes while trying to slow down the Buckeye freshman.

Sullinger's record setting performance saw him hit 12/17 shots from the field and 16/23 from the stripe in addition to grabbing 13 boards. Buford added 14 points and seven rips while Jon Diebler chipped in 13 points. Freshman Aaron Craft was held scoreless but dropped eight dimes and grabbed five boards in 35 minutes of action. He also played some insane on-ball defense during the decisive run keeping IUPUI from being able to consistently start their offense.

Interestingly, Thad Matta didn't go to his bench in the 2nd half until less than minute remained meaning Dallas Lauderdale played just eight minutes. The move was necessary to try and facilitate some ball movement as the Buckeyes looked completely listless for nearly two thirds of the game not to mention the fact IUPUI played small ball forcing Lauderdale to defend on the perimeter, not something Thad wants to see. Lacking any intensity at the defensive end, the Buckeyes forced just three 1st half tunovers while allowing the Jags to hit 52% from the floor including 5/10 from downtown. At the other end, Ohio State shot a respectable 48% in the opening 20 minutes and committed just four turnovers but there was a decided meh to their play.

Despite the win, Matta was provided plenty of amunition to keep the team focused in practice. David Lighty had a very shaky outing scoring just six points and getting beat on back door passes on three separate occasions. DeShaun Thomas played just nine minutes and again showed his basketball IQ is somewhat lacking at times. As we've seen in previous games, he took some ill-advised shots early in possessions and jacked up a three just seconds after entering the game. Matta also can't be pleased with the defensive effort through the first 28 minutes though IUPUI deserves credit for hitting some tough shots.

Still, a win is a win and it was nice to see the Buckeyes rise to the challenge after falling behind 45-39. With Sullinger bullying his way to easy layups, Ohio State shot 14/26 (54%) in the 2nd half and committed just eight turnovers on the night.

Next up for the 7-0 Buckeyes is a 2pm Sunday afternoon tilt against the Western Carolina Catamounts in St. John Arena.


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Buckeye Black's picture

One word: BEAST


Also, Diebs needs to start showing up.  We should not struggle against IUPUI even with an 8 day lay off.

Olentangy's picture

relax man... a full week of finals and an 8 day layoff is quite a toll for these kids... especially since a lot of em are away from home for the first time in their lives. not to mention IUPUI was shooting out of its mind in the first 20-30mins. the basket was like an ocean for the jags. we got the W... take a deep breath and move on to the next game.

How firm thy friendship

Jason Priestas's picture

Exactly. If there's anything to truly worry about, it's the fact that we might only get to see 30 more games out of Sully in a Buckeye uniform. We better start praying for that NBA lockout to come.

tampa buckeye's picture

Sully isn't ready for the league just yet.  Sure he could get drafted high but won't make an impact til he gets his mid range game going.  Also his free throw shooting has been sub par.  Defense could use some work as well.  That said he is by far the best big man we had since G.O. 

btalbert25's picture

I don't think the guys care if they are going to be ready or not if they are going to be a lottery pick.  And really, it would be silly to not leave if that's where you are being projected to go in the draft.  I think coming in most of us resigned to the fact that he was probably a one year player anyway.  Maybe not, but I just assumed with all the accolades he got in high school, if the one year rule weren't in place he likely wouldn't have come here to begin with.

Dean's picture

Love Sully's quote, too:


“Normally I don’t [call for the ball] because that shows signs of selfishness and that’s not me,” Sullinger said. “But he’s the head coach and you have to listen to him.”

ERIC OSU's picture

Haha +1 great find, love that kid... only thing I'm worried about is seeing sully and craft getting all the playing time and the other young gun thomas having to watch the comeback from the pine for the whole 2nd which he is not accustom to, hope it doesn't waiver on #1's mind.... his time will come

ERIC OSU's picture

Incase anyone was wondering, I just phone-typed that whole message from the basement of too's on senior crawl night.. that's my dedication to this blog

Jason Priestas's picture

You'll get the king's seat at Eat Too, Brutus 2011. Have fun tonight!

BuckeyeChief's picture

What game are you planning on having it at?

"2014 National with it!!!"

Jason Priestas's picture

Thinking Penn State, but it's not firmed up yet.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Alright...I am gonna officially TRY to make it...due to transfer around then, if I can catch a layover around that time in Columbus...we'll see.

Who's picking me up from the airport if I make it?

"2014 National with it!!!"

ERIC OSU's picture

Hahaha, does that include a jeweled goblet with the words "eat too" on it?

ATL Buckeye's picture

@ Eric- Agreed there sir. You can tell he is anxious to play and be a source of instant offense. He needs to learn patience. Hard to do when you were a McDonald's all-american and promised ample playing time. His time will come! 

iball's picture

Back 2 Back POY's for the cagers? This team might be better than the Thad 5. I can't see any more than 2 losses at the absolute most for this team.

IMO, Craft really makes a difference.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

JakeBuckeye's picture

Its funny, because if football were playing like basketball is (crappy) yet still getting wins it wouldn't be enough for you. Certainly not enough for you to claim greatness.

iball's picture

That's oranges to apples, you lose one in football, you're pretty much out. In basketball, I gaurantee we have a shot despite a few losses. Last night's game wouldn't have mattered at the end of the year win or lose. A nine day layoff in bball is like a 3 week layoff in football. I expect nothing less than a final 4 for this team. How's that for expectations?


Obviously you're a newbie and haven't heard me during bball tourney time.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

JakeBuckeye's picture

They haven't played well since the Florida game, its not just this one lay off.

yrro's picture

I don't know, it depends on what you want to call "playing well." That was some stifling defense against FSU, they just ran into similarly excellent defensive play on the other side of the ball.

Jdadams01's picture

Typical mid-major upset bid...hit tons of threes and play pesky D while catching the highly ranked team in a daze. Won't be the last game of the year to look ugly. Props to Sully for carrying the team on an off night for us.

RBuck's picture

Deshaun reminds me of DeQuann...never saw a shot he didn't take.

Long live the southend.

BucksfanXC's picture

I missed this game cuz I was at the taping of Rick Reilly's Homecoming with Magic Johnson last night, which was awesome.

Seems like we need to keep working on our free throws. That can kill a team in the tourney. I love the way this team adapts. I love the depth of leadership, any number of guys will step up when the going gets tough.

I'm not too concerned that they struggled tonight, because like you guys already said finals week and all. Coach Boals put on Twitter yesterday that he was worried about how the team would come out, hinted that he'd figure they'd be flat after the lay off and finals.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

iball's picture

OT, I believe Cam's fam broke all kinds of rules and should be booted.

But, this morning ESPN is comparing him to Mark McGwire, thats shitty. And how ironic they're airing a 30 for 30 special about the Pony Express this Saturday?

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

btalbert25's picture

I was thinking the same thing about the 30/30 movie.  They even said right after the Heisman Presentation don't miss Pony Express lol.

The_Lurker's picture

Nice game by Sully. Certainly the team lacked defensive intensity, but maybe we can forgive them due to the long layoff, the lack of student-fueled atmosphere in the arena, finals and an opponent that didn't inspire any fear...oh, and more than a week of reading their press clippings. Plenty for Thad to yell about in practice.

Kudos to IUPUI...they played some really great defense. The reason they were susceptible to Sully - other than the fact they had no one that could physically match him - was the great job they did covering the outside shooters. I always tend to watch Diebler's positioning on the court and he was often unable to shake free. Buford seemed to sleepwalk at times, which he cannot do against the better teams. That kid Young is a great player for IUPUI.

What's nice about this team is that they can win even when not at their best.

Sully = MANchild!

btalbert25's picture

Lack of intensity in the arena is NEVER and excuse for losing. 

The_Lurker's picture

And they didn't, nor would I give them a pass if they had. A silent building can sap intensity though, which helps the road team. But that was a pathetic home showing last night by the fans, unless the microphones on the Big Ten Network were set for negative 180 decibels.

btalbert25's picture

I actually didn't see the game, but you are right in that the road team isn't as rattled when the arena is quiet.

Jdadams01's picture

They never shouldve stopped playing games in St. Johns

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Two words to describe Sulli last night. BEAST MODE.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama