2011 Ohio State Basketball
Sullinger-less Buckeyes Fall to Kansas
For the first time this season, the Ohio State Buckeyes played a game outside of Columbus. And, for the first time this season, the second-ranked Buckeyes lost.
Playing without their All-American big man Jared Sullinger for the second straight game, Ohio State put up a valiant effort but ultimately fell short to the 13th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks 78-67 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Without Sullinger patrolling the paint, Jayhawk forward Thomas Robinson took advantage of Sullinger's absence inside scoring 21 points while freshman Kevin Young came off the bench to add a career-high 14 points.
It was all over the media that Sullinger was a question mark, but he wasn't ruled out until just before the game, when his balky back was just too tight and bothersome to play.
The injury that wasn't as publicized was that of Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor.
Taylor hurt his right knee, tearing the meniscus and spraining his MCL in practice earlier in the week and could have opted for surgery, but the Jayhawks' medical staff decided he wouldn't harm it any more by playing. They left it up to the senior to decide whether he could manage the pain.
Taylor was the catalyst for the Jayhawk offense and put together a gritty performance on his way to a career-high 13 assists.
Energized by a packed crowd, the Jayhawks raced out to a 23-13 lead just over midway through the first half. Robinson was going to work in the paint and had all seven of his first-half points during the opening barrage.
The Buckeyes finally hit their stride as Thomas sparked the offense with his outside shooting.
The sophomore forward hit consecutive 3-pointers from well beyond the arc, and Amir Williams added his only basket of the first half to slice into the lead. But Thomas wasn’t through, hitting his third 3-pointer of the half. Free throws by Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Evan Ravenel trimmed it to 33-29 with a minute left.
Kevin Young's basket moments later off a pretty feed from Robinson gave Kansas a six-point lead at the break.
Similar to the start of the game, the Jayhawks came out of halftime on fire as Elijah Johnson hit two more 3-pointers to swell the lead to double digits.
Ohio State coach Thad Matta called timeout to calm his young team down. It was then that Buford showed his veteran poise by scoring the first basket when play resumed. His bucket started a four-minute run in which he scored all five of the Buckeyes' field goals, getting them back within single digits.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, the closest it ever got was 62-58.
Back-to-back turnovers by Thomas and Jordan Sibert prevented the Buckeyes from having a chance to take the lead, and Robinson converted a three-point play when he was fouled on a putback off a miss by Young with 2:40 remaining in the game. His free throw restored the lead to 71-61.
Robinson and the Jayhawks took care of things from the foul line down the stretch, allowing the reigning Big 12 champions to beat the defending Big Ten champs for the fourth straight time.
With the victory, the Jayhawks (6-2) extended their winning streak to 47 games over nonconference opponents in Lawrence.
The Buckeyes will look to bounce back on Wednesday as they welcome the USC Upstate Spartans into Columbus.
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