2011 Ohio State Basketball
Freshman, Not Named Sullinger, Leads Buckeyes to Decisive Victory
The success of freshman Jared Sullinger has been well-documented this college basketball season. Talks of player-of-the-year honors, and the potential number one overall pick draft in this summer's NBA Draft, just to name a couple. Even fellow freshman Aaron Craft has been receiving some well-deserved credit for the Buckeyes triumphs this season.
Not to be forgotten, Sunday evening belonged to another talented first year player, freshman Deshaun Thomas.
Thomas, last year's Indiana Mr. Basketball, poured in 22 points against Indiana to lead the No. 2 ranked Buckeyes past the Hoosiers, 82-61, on Sunday in Columbus.
The silky lefty scored all the points during a 14-3 first-half run by the Bucks that spanned nearly four minutes and turned the game into a blowout in the making.
The scoring outburst had to feel good for Thomas whom has been a bit of a slump of late managing just 13 points in his last seven games.
With the victory, OSU will likely ascend to No. 1 next week after top-ranked Duke lost at Virginia Tech on Saturday night.
Verdell Jones III had 14 points for Indiana (12-17, 3-13 Big Ten), who have lost six in a row and remain the only Big Ten team without a road win this season (0-10).
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes remain unbeaten at home improving their record to 19-0 inside of Value City Arena. That mark is a record in the program's 112 seasons. Furthermore, the Buckeyes are an astonishing 36-1 in Columbus over the last two seasons.
Another milestone was accomplished on Sunday as Sullinger become only the fourth Ohio State freshman to score 500 or more points in a season, joining current NBA players Michael Redd (658), Kosta Koufos (534) and Greg Oden (501). Despite the accomplishment, Sullinger whom leads Ohio State in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (9.9), picked up two fouls early and was limited to five points and seven rebounds in just 13 minutes of play.
Going back to Thomas, he was the story for the Buckeyes in the first half giving the Bucks a lift after starters Sullinger, Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale each picked up two fouls.
Indiana actually led 8-7 at the 16:35 mark, but didn't score again for nearly the next eight minutes.
It was then that Thomas took over, hitting two foul shots, then netting back-to-back triples. He took a great, in traffic pass from Lauderdale for another bucket inside, then spun in a reverse layup and ended the run with another reverse move off glass.
The Buckeyes led 38-23 at the half, with Thomas tallying 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, his only miss coming on a shot from three-point land.
Ahead by 15 at the break, the Buckeyes scored 13 of the first 17 points against the Hoosiers in the second half and coasted the rest of the way.
In the second half, the Buckeyes did not once take their foot off the gas pedal as they continued to pressure the basketball as if the game had just started.
This was evident when Hoosiers' Victor Oladipo and the Bucks Craft collided while going for a loose ball with 12:33 left. There was no let up in the Buckeyes.
The victory helped Ohio State maintain a one-game lead in the Big Ten with two games remaining. The first of these final two matchups coming up this Tuesday as they travel to Happy Valley to take on the feisty Nittany Lions.
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