2011 Ohio State Basketball
Sullinger's Big Game Leads to Buckeyes Blowout
After losing to the Indiana Hoosiers on New Year's Eve, the 7th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes have been playing with a chip on their shoulder.
In the two games following the loss in Indiana, the Buckeyes have won those games by an average of 30 points.
On Saturday, the Buckeyes hammered the Iowa Hawkeyes 76-47 behind a monster game from their big man Jared Sullinger who bucketed a season-high 28 points.
"The fellas made a conscious effort to throw it inside, because they knew if they threw it inside it was either going to be a double-team or they were going to play one-on-one. Coach (Thad) Matta thinks that works to our advantage," commented Sullinger after the game.
Ohio State (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) went on a 16-2 run that spanned both halves to jump ahead 38-21 early in the second session. From there, the Buckeyes steadily built that lead to 60-33 with just under eight minutes left and cruised to their third Big Ten win by at least 29 points.
Eric May had nine points to lead Iowa (10-7, 2-2), which was stifled by the relentless Buckeye defense which held the Hawkeyes to 17-of-53 shooting from the floor while committing 20 turnovers.
But for Iowa, their biggest problem wasn't on the offensive end. Their biggest problem was on defense, trying to stop Sullinger and the rest of the Buckeyes weapons on offense.
Once Sullinger's teammates got going, Iowa found itself overmatched.
Deshaun Thomas, who got off to a slow start, hit a jumper and a layup to push Ohio State ahead 50-29. Then, Aaron Craft knifed through a pair of Iowa defenders and set up an easy basket for Sullinger. The superb play seemed to deflate the near-sellout Iowa crowd for good.
Thomas was the only other Buckeye to score in double figures adding 10 points while William Buford finished with eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds. As a team, the Buckeyes shot a solid 64.5 percent from the field in the second half (51.6 percent for the game).
Ohio State's only blemishes this season came at Kansas, where they lost 78-67 in overtime without Sullinger, and a three-point defeat to an upstart Indiana squad on the road. As mentioned, the Buckeyes sandwiched that Indiana loss to the Hoosiers with blowout wins over Northwestern, Nebraska and now Iowa -- all teams figured to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten.
The next test for the Buckeyes comes against a team near the top of the conference, the Illinois Fighting Illini (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten).
Ohio State travels to Champaign on Tuesday looking to keep their recent dominance within the conference rolling.
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