Sully O, Team D Hammers Hawkeyes

By Chris Lauderback on January 7, 2012 at 4:53p
AP Photo: Charlie NeibergallSully poured in a season high 28 points

Leading by just nine at the half thanks to another foul plagued 20 minutes, Ohio State used 2nd half runs of 10-2 and 29-9 and a season high 28 points from Jared Sullinger to blow past Iowa 76-47 this afternoon in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

Sullinger looked completely healthy as he dominated at both ends of the floor. Offensively, he drained 13 of 18 shots with two o-boards helping OSU post a 44-22 edge in points in the paint while adding six defensive caroms, four steals and a block. 

With Sullinger patrolling the paint and the bevy of perimeter defenders harassing Iowa shooters, the Hawkeyes shot a dismal 32% from the floor including 3/12 from downtown with 20 turnovers. Ohio State racked up 12 steals led by Sullinger and three from William Buford. 

Buford also added a season high 11 boards and five assists but the senior from Toledo struggled to find the range shooting a horrific 3/14. For all the talk about the bigs missing Jon Diebler, there's little question in my mind that WB misses Diebler's offensive presence the most. Sure, WB's never been hesitant to take a shot but he seems to press more often than not knowing he has to shoulder the perimeter scoring load. 

Deshaun Thomas was the only other Buckeye in double figures with 10 points (4/6) despite playing just nine minutes in the 1st half thanks to foul trouble. 

Thomas wasn't alone on the pine as fellow starters Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith also picked up two early fouls forcing Matta to play without those three over the final 10:52 of the 1st half. 

The Buckeyes hardly missed the trio as they went on a 12-4 run just after Craft picked up his 2nd foul turning a 9-9 score into a 22-13 lead. Sullinger shouldered the load with seven points but the reserves also chipped in as Shannon Scott hit a deep jumper, JD Weatherspoon rattled the rim and Sam Thompson outdid him capping the run with a high flying alley oop off a perfect pass from Scott. 

A return of cold shooting allowed Iowa to score six straight points cutting the lead to 22-19 with 2:47 until intermission but OSU responded with a 6-0 run themselves to close the half thanks to the Northland connection. Sully went to work on the low block for two, Weatherspoon flushed another strong look from Scott and Sully capped the run with a putback dunk of Buford's ninth miss. WB would miss one more as he forced a shot in the lane to take an 0/10 streak into the locker room. 

Sully's 15 first half points were huge as Smith, Craft and Thomas played just 22 combined minutes and even when Craft was in (9min) he was largely ineffective with three turnovers. 

Aside from Sully, the other two main storylines from the first half were Scott's play and a team defense that held Iowa to 5/23 from the field (22%) with 12 turnovers. Scott was fantastic with two points, five boards and five assists against zero turnovers in 11 heady minutes of action. 

Lowlights of the 1st half included Buford's 0/10 donut which weighted down the team's 39% shooting, another struggle from distance (2/7) and 10 team fouls. The fouls kept Iowa in the game as they 8-0 from the stripe to trail just 28-19 at the half. 

AP Photo: Charlie NeibergallBuford struggled offensively shooting 3/14

Able to put the starters back on the floor, Matta's troops came out firing to start the 2nd half. Thomas got it started with a triple and Buford recorded his first bucket in 11 tries off a drive one possession later. After an Melsahn Basabe deuce, Smith splashed a triple from the left wing, Craft hit a driving layup and Sully finished the 10-2 spurt with a bucket in the lane off a feed from Craft pushing the Buckeye lead to 38-21 with 17:52 left in regulation. 

Iowa would score on their next three possessions trimming the lead t 40-27 with with 16:12 left but after the under 16 media timeout, Ohio State buried the Hawkeyes with a 29-9 run to take a commanding 69-36 lead with 5:50 left in the manhood stripping. 

Sully had 11 points during the haymaker with Buford adding six and Thomas four while Iowa was busy missing 10 of 13 shots with six turnovers in the roughly 10 minute span of Buckeye dominance. 

For the game, OSU shot 52% from the field, 50% from distance (7/14), won the glass 41-3 and scored 23 points off the aforementioned 20 forced turnovers At one point, OSU had held Iowa to 10/40 from the floor.  

One final impressive stat about the defense - Iowa didn't have one player reach double figures as Eric May led the Hawkeyes with nine points on 4/10 shooting. The team's leading scorer, Matt Gatens (13.6), was held to six points on just 3/8 from the field. 

The win improved the Buckeyes to 15-2 overall and 3-1 in the B1G. 

Next up is another roadie, this time a much tougher task at Illinois on Tuesday. ESPN has your TV coverage at 9pm. 




Comments Show All Comments

DefendOhio's picture

Great point about Buford. I don't think people realized how much Diebs helped him last year. 

TLB's picture

Excuses for WB are getting tiresome.  He's a Sr, if he can't make a shot then don't take it.

thatlillefty's picture

right on... his selfish play played a big role in our loss vs. UK last season and his poor shot selection is continuing to hurt us this year

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Pretty sure any coach will tell their shooters to keep shooting.

Chris Lauderback's picture

He has to keep shooting.

Love him or not, this team has ZERO chance of making any noise beyond the Sweet 16 if Buford's not a positive factor. 

BuckeyeJim's picture

I hope he leads by doing.

TLB's picture

We all like him, I think.  He just frustrates us a bit when he disappears or has a game where it looks like he is just going thru the motions.

KenK's picture

I don't think Buf was going through the motions today; his 11 rebounds and 5/2 asst/TO ratio speak to that. He just couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle today.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Hit nail on head. This team needs WB. Dudes in a funk for sure, but maybe he's getting that funk out of his system before March. Coach is telling him to keep shooting otherwise he wouldn't shoot. He isn't helping his draft status right now and I hope he clicks soon.

tampa buckeye's picture

The turnovers from buford and craft are more concerning then missing shots. I really like how spoon and sam are getting some well deserved mins. Before spoon leaves ohio state he will be a star.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Just wish we had a point guard to throw moar ollie oops on breaks to those two.

zbd's picture

Buford has the lowest bb IQ on the team.  He has no clue of how to let the game come to him.  I like what I see of Sam Thompson, Scott, Weatherspoon and Sibert.  Only leadership is missing. (Lighty)

Maestro's picture

Finally someone who agrees with me about Buford.

vacuuming sucks

gravey's picture

Were these the officials from Bloomington?  They stunk.  If Iowa didn't stink even worse, this game could have been really ugly.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

I really like this team and they are fun to watch & root for, but it will be tough for them to go beyond the sweet sixteen this year. Too many warts-inconsistent outside shooting, poor free throw shooting, one of their best players (Buford) going MIA for long stretches in games. Don't get me wrong, I hope they win it all, but I just can't see it at this point.

Nick's picture

Buford needs to start the game going to the hoop. Layup or assist because not many teams will leave Sully and Thomas

baddogmaine's picture

After the Kansas game I suggested that the Buckeyes needed three things to win big games: 1) Sullinger on the floor; 2) winning the turnover battle; and 3) playing like it cares. #1 is obvious. This team can not win big games without Sully. #3 also seems to be key. The team that destroyed Iowa in the second half struggled in the first half. First half slumps seem to be a theme this year. Until the team learns to play in the first half with the same intensity they have found in the second tough games are going to be more difficult than they should. I'm going to replace #2 with something another reader suggested back then: Buford has to provide leadership in all phases. We have seen comfortable wins even when we turn it over a lot. Nebraska, for instance. We have not beaten good teams when Buford has struggled. His performance against KY last year has been well documented. Against Kansas Buford went 8-23. Against Indiana Buford went 3-7. South Carolina was but an 8 point win - Buford was 5 of 14. By contrast he was 7-15 against FL, not a great % but not terrible and  21 points is a good contribution. He was 8-15 for 20 against Duke.

Our dependence on Sullinger and Buford means that the recent foul problems have to be corrected.It was a cliche of OSU basketball that we play without fouling. Blame the refs if you want but the reality is that key players are getting into foul trouble too much, and as long as we blame the refs rather than making adjustments we are going to be playing guys not quite ready for the jobs being asked of them.  We can beat the Iowas of the world with starters sitting. We did not beat IN when fouls mounted. And if any of our Big Three (Sully, Buford, Craft) have to sit for any stretch of time the drop off in performance will likely cost us against our rivals for glory.

One more note on Buford. He is getting mentioned for All-something teams but that has to be based more on past performance and potential than has actual contributions this year. His averages are not bad but he has disappeared in big games. Writers obviously don't notice but pro scouts will. Unless Buford finds his game again he will hurt not only OSU's long term chances, but his draft position. Right now I don't see him going in the first round. More games like yesterday and he could slide to the third.

ih8rolltyde's picture

Agree on most of those points, I think Sibert's mins need to start goin to Sam. Spoon seems to be getting lots of love from matta lately, think he deserves it, dude is a pitbull out there. Even money he puts the next big goofy dude's hand in with the ball. Scott has been very impressive to me, much more of an NBA type point. Smooth shot, good vision. Crazy for the backup pg to get 5 dimes in a half. Lots of positives to be taken with this team.
Remember, cb has a 68 team tourney, the "best" team doesn't always win. Just gotta get hot and win 9 in a row (B1G and natty).

****igan smells like old water that hot dogs were boiled in.  FACT

Buckeye Black's picture

I wonder if Ross really isn't doing much in practice or if Matta is trying to save him for the tournament/next year.  A killer 3 point shooter is all this team needs.

thatlillefty's picture

very good point... would very much like to see how the kid can play

yrro's picture

He missed enough practice, going to bet his defense isn't up to snuff, and you know Matta - no defense, no minutes.