Thanksgiving came early for Thad Matta's crew as they feasted on the Virginia Military Institute to the tune of 107-74 tonight in the Schott improving to 5-0 on the young season.
The 107 points were four shy of the record for most points scored in Value City Arena, dating back to a 111-60 demolition of Eastern Michigan, otherwise known as the game in which Evan Turner broke his back in a disgusting fall.
Ohio State placed five in double figures led by 23 from William Buford (10/16) who also added six assists in 23 minutes.
Jared Sullinger recorded his 21st career double-double with 17 points (8/10) and 12 boards in only 19 minutes while Aaron Craft got loose for 13 points (4/6), eight assists and three steals as he dined on VMI's sluggish full court pressure.
DeShaun Thomas added 11 points - all in the 1st half - on the strength of 3/4 from downtown while JD Weatherspoon picked up 10 points (5/5) and five boards in 14 impressive garbage time minutes.
The Buckeyes led just 14-11 after a Nick Gore and-1 on Sullinger five minutes in but turned on the jets using a 22-5 spurt to build a 36-16 lead with 10:37 left in the first half. Sullinger paced the Buckeyes with seven during the run but six of his teammates also scored as OSU continued to effectively share the sugar.
Unfortunately, the fun at the offensive end took some of the intensity away from the defense as the Buckeyes allowed VMI to outscore them 28-21 over the next nine minutes cutting the lead to 57-44 at the half.
Scoring at will, the Buckeyes shot a blistering 70% from the floor (23/33) helped by the noted supreme ball movement, especially against VMI's ineffective press - yielding 18 dimes on the 23 made field goals. As usual, Craft was key on that front dishing out seven assists while Buford added four to go with his team high 16 points.
In the perimeter oriented track meet early, Sully recorded just four FGA's - making all four - while Thomas added 11 points on 4/5 from the field including 3/4 from distance. The Buckeyes slashed through the paint at will scoring 32 of their 57 1st half points in the paint while owning the glass 20-12.
The lax defense over the final nine minutes still overshadowed the scorching offense which Matta clearly focused on at halftime.
Inspired to keep their coach from chewing more ass after the game - saving little room for Thanksgiving dinner - the Buckeyes opened the 2nd half on a 24-5 blitz pushing the lead to 81-49 with 11:43 to play.
Sullinger and Buford were large during the run with Sully scoring eight of the first 12 points while finding a slashing Buford for a rim rocker. Following Sully's gift, Buford hit a leaner along the baseline before splashing a triple to cap the spurt.
Craft was also silly as he hit a driving left layup before upping the degree of difficulty with a left reverse layup after toasting his man on the wing. Two possessions later, he knifed through the lane and hit a pull up jumper to make it 76-48 good guys.
Thad emptied the bench from there with 10 Buckeyes logging at least 14 minutes.
Shannon Scott continued his improvement contributing eight points (4/6) and four assists against just one turnover in 18 minutes. He looked in his element in the up tempo tilt, dribbling end to end with his head up looking to make something happen.
Evan Ravenel continued his Poor Man's Othello Hunter routine with eight points on 4/5 in 14 minutes with a couple boards. That's a good thing because Amir Williams, despite his four blocks, is most likely a year away from contributing anything offensively. That's not a knock - young big men typically take longer to develop - but the reality is Ravenel must contribute some points/rebounds for OSU to be successful in the physical B1G.
Jordan Sibert wasn't as impressive shooting the rock tonight (2/7 FG, 0/3 3FG) but he picked up five boards, three dimes and three steals in 22 minutes of action.
Overall, the Buckeyes shot a ridiculous 68% from the field and 50% from distance (5/10) while hitting just 59% from the stripe (10/17). The hot shooting and excellent passing allowed OSU to assist on 30 of 46 field goals while the defense owned the backboards 44-23 while forcing 16 Keydet turnovers.
The 19 Buckeye turnovers were a bit of an abberation considering the summer league flow leading to about a million possessions and the number of Buckeyes seeing extended minutes.
Next up for Ohio State is Valparaiso at 6:30 pm Friday night. The game can be seen on the BTN.