After scoring just seven points in six games on 3/22 shooting before a modest bounceback six point effort Tuesday night against Illinois, Deshaun Thomas exploded against his home state school with 22 points, including 14 in a row during a decisive 26-6 first half run, keying Ohio State's 82-61 blowout victory over whiny-ass Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers.
Thomas was backed by 15 points from William Buford (6/11 FG) and 11 points each from David Lighty (4/7) and Jon Diebler (2/8).
Trailing 8-7, Thomas keyed the 26-6 blitz scoring 14 straight points on a couple free throws, a pair of triples and three straight layups to bring the Schott to a fever pitch. The knee-buckling run was all the more impressive as Jared Sullinger watched from the pine for all but three points of it after picking up his 2nd foul with OSU leading 10-8 at the 13:52 mark. By the time the smoke cleared from Deshaun's scorching display (5/6 FG), the Buckeyes were in front 33-14 with 2:55 left in the half.
With Thomas scoring at will, in addition to grabbing four boards, his teammates got busy at the defensive end during the run forcing the Hoosiers into a dismal 2/16 from the floor with eight turnovers.
For the half, Indiana connected on just 36% from the field with nine turnovers while the Buckeyes shot 48% with just four turnovers. Ohio State also held a 12-0 scoring edge behind the arc as IU bricked all eight of their 1st half triple tries.
Upset at the fact his team was being whistled for incessant hacking, Crean (or his bench?) picked up a technical foul at the 9:50 mark. Lucky for Crean, the Buckeyes shot just 10/17 (59%) from the stripe in the opening 20 minutes or the halftime score of 38-23 would have been worse.
The 2nd half was more of the same as the Buckeyes got it going with a 13-4 run featuring five straight points from Buford via a trey from the baseline before a short layup off a nice curl in the lane. After a lefty layup from Lighty and a pair of free throws from Sullinger, Aaron Craft drained a triple from the top of the circle before Lighty capped the run with a nice shot fake into an and-1 layup giving Ohio State a healthy 51-27 cushion at the 16:15 mark.
The game would devolve into an open gym shortly thereafter with the only suspense provided by whether or not Crean would start openly weeping on the sideline and Thomas gunning for his career high of 24 points, which he set in the season opener against North Carolina A&T (similar competition so I guess it makes sense). Sorry for the venom, folks. I just can't hide the fact I think Crean is a joke.
Sullinger was a non-factor after missing 17 minutes in the 1st half winding up with season lows of five points on two field goal attempts in 13 minutes with seven boards. Dallas Lauderdale helped pick up Sully's slack recording eight points and six boards, tying his season high with 28 minutes.
Craft was his usual harrassing self picking up six steals while posting eight points and five dimes in another quietly effective performance.
Verdell Jones III led Indiana with 14 points while Christian Watford added 12.
For the game, OSU shot 49% from the floor, 39% from distance (7/18) and 75% from the stripe (27/36) thanks to a 17/19 effort in the 2nd half. Meanwhile, the Buckeye defense held Indiana to 39% from the field and 29% from distance (6/21) while winning the glass 34-28.
The win improves Ohio State to 27-2 overall and 14-2 in conference play and should vault the Buckeyes back into the #1 national ranking following losses by Duke and Texas.
Next up for the Buckeyes is what should amount to another tough road test as they travel to State College to play a Penn State team in desperate need of a signature to try and get themselves onto the tournament bubble.