Shaking off a 5/16 outing against Oakland, William Buford led five Buckeyes in double figures with 23 points in 23 minutes (9/11 FG), including 16 in the first half as Ohio State thumped Tennessee-Martin 100-40 tonight in Value City Arena.
Jared Sullinger chipped in 18 points (7/9 FG) and 11 boards for his sixth dub-dub of the young season and Deshaun Thomas added 20 points and nine rebounds in another strong showing.
Like Sully and WB, the rest of the starters saw limited action with David Lighty contributing 10 points (4/8 FG) and five boards in 21 minutes, Jon Diebler six points and three dimes in 20 minutes and Dallas Lauderdale 10 points (5/7 FG) and four rips in 21 minutes. Key reserve Aaron Craft handed out seven assists.
As we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, Ohio State charged out of the locker room and overwhelmed the undersized Skyhawks with a 31-5 blitzkrieg in the opening 11 minutes. Buford was front and center scoring the first seven points on a baseline jumper, a breakaway dunk off a steal and finally a three pointer from the left wing.
With Greg Oden in attendance, Sullinger got into the act scoring the next five points, two off a monster follow up jam of a Lighty miss. After Terence Smith hit UTM’s first field goal with with 16:53 left in the half, WB answered with another jumper from distance and Sullinger converted a conventional three point play making it 18-2 good guys with 14:03 remaining.
After a trey from Reuben Clayton cut the Buckeye lead to 18-5 with 13:57 left, the Buckeyes unleashed a 13-0 haymaker pushing the cushion to the aforementioned 31-5 bulge with 9:35 until intermission. The opening 10 minutes and change saw Buford score 10 points on 4/5 FG’s with Sullinger adding eight (3/3 FG) and Thomas six (3/3 FG). Ohio State shot a blistering 65% from the field (13/20) as they had their way with a feeble mix of Skyhawk man and zone defenses scoring 18 points in the paint.
The defense also had a hand in the run as the Buckeyes overwhelmed the UT guards with ball pressure converting nine Skyhawk turnovers into 12 points while holding the shooters to 20% from the floor (3/15).
The halftime lead swelled to 49-17 as WB, Lighty and Thomas took turns scoring four straight points apiece as the Buckeyes connected on 56% of their shots, assisting on 10 of 20 field goals while committing just three turnovers. Sounds familiar. At the other end, the defense harassed the Skyhawks into 23% shooting and nine turnovers while yielding a meager six points in the paint.
Sporting a 32 point halftime lead, the Buckeyes came out of the break with the fury of a scorned lover reeling off 18 straight points increasing the lead to 67-17 with 15:00 left in the autopsy. Buford was again in the mix with seven points and two assists showing he is definitely ready for the start of conference play.
With a Worthington Summer League feel in full effect, Diebler finally got on the board hitting a pair of triples roughly a minute apart moving him into a tie for 6th place in Big Ten history for made three pointers (297) before Thad emptied the bench.
It was straight garbage time from there as the Skyhawks surrendered 1.2 trillion dunks including back to back Chocolate Thunder dunks from Lauderdale and the customary flush from J.D. Weatherspoon.
The eulogy for this one read OSU assisting on 26 of 41 field goals on the way to a 59% shooting night though the triples only dropped at a 27% clip (6/22). The starters combined to hit a scorching 71% (27/38) and the Bucks scored 58 of their 100 points in the paint with 30 coming off turnovers.
Defensively, Ohio State held the Skyhawks to 27% from the field including 16% from distance while forcing 19 turnovers and winning the glass 49-28.
With the non-conference cupcakes in the rear view mirror, the 13-0 Buckeyes open up Big Ten play at Indiana at 6:00pm on New Year’s Eve.