2012 Ohio State Basketball
Sullinger's Big Game Leads to Buckeyes Blowout
When Nebraska athletics left the Big 12 conference to join the Big Ten this year, it was mainly a move for the football program.
About halfway through their first season dealing with Big Ten basketball, the Cornhuskers are probably wishing they would have stayed in the Big 12.
On Saturday, the sixth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes blew out Nebraska for the second time this month with a 79-45 victory.
The Buckeyes (17-3, 5-3) took both of their Nebraska games by a combined 65 points. With the victory on Saturday, OSU moved into a three-way tie for first place in the conference with Michigan and Michigan State.
The blowout was fueled by Ohio State's balancing scoring attack. Out of the 13 Buckeyes who saw the floor, only one player failed to register a point.
Leading the way were OSU's stars. William Buford scored 15 points while Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas had 14 apiece.
Buckeye head coach Thad Matta was very pleased by his team's performance and hopes they can keep things rolling.
"I see this team growing inch by inch, week by week," Matta said. "We've got to continue to hammer 'em. We had three great practices leading into this game. They were talking on the bench about what can happen if we keep practicing like that. Hopefully, we can continue that."
On the other hand, the Cornhuskers had different sentiments following the game.
"I don't think we could have played any worse," said Brandon Ubel, who led Nebraska with just eight points. "I don't think I've ever been on a team that's turned it over 27 times. You play that bad, with that many turnovers against a team like Ohio State, they're going to make you pay, and that's what happened."
As Ubel mentioned, the Cornhuskers committed a season-high 27 turnovers, but on top of that, Nebraska shot a putrid, season-low 29.5 percent from the floor including two field-goal droughts of longer than eight minutes.
Despite the terrible offensive performance, the Cornhuskers started the game strong and took an 8-5 lead after the first media timeout. This had Matta concerned and he knew he had to use this timeout to challenge is squad. After all, the Huskers were capable of an upset, having just knocked off the 13th ranked Indiana Hoosiers earlier in the week.
"Being down that first timeout, we challenged our guys," Matta said. "I thought Nebraska was playing harder than us. They were quicker to the play. Defensively, down the stretch of the first half, we did a good job limiting open looks and getting our hands on balls. We played tonight, and that was something we needed to do."
Ohio State responded quickly taking their first double-digit lead 10 minutes into the game, going on a 13-0 run after that timeout.
The Buckeyes defense buckled down and held Nebraska to only 12 points on 4-of-20 shooting in the last 15½ minutes of the half as they went into the locker room with a commanding 36-20 lead.
They never took their foot off the gas pedal from there, cruising to their 34-point victory.
This season, the Buckeyes have made it a habit of blowing out teams. They have won by 10 points or more in 15 of their 17 victories and increased their nation-leading average victory margin to an astonishing 21.95 points.
That number could go up even more as the Buckeyes host the conference's worst team, the Penn State Nittany Lions, on Wednesday.
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