Buckeyes, Darby down Morehead

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 14, 2002

The senior guard continued to carry the Buckeyes on Saturday, scoring 30 points to lead a 74-60 victory over cold-shooting Morehead State.

''He's scoring points and dropping assists to us,'' Terence Dials said of Darby. ''He's the leader on this team and that's what leaders do.''

Darby, who had a career-high 35 points against Duke on Dec. 3, hit 11-of-16 shots, including 5-of-7 3-pointers, and made several key plays in the second half after Morehead State threatened to make it a game.

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Darby made a 3-pointer after the Eagles (3-3) pulled within 11 and scored on a layup when the Buckeyes' lead was cut to 10.

After Morehead State failed to score on a possession that included three offensive rebounds, Darby drove the length of the floor for a layup to put Ohio State (3-2) ahead 61-46 with 7:55 remaining.

''We wanted to double team Darby and make him give the ball up, but he is so quick and strong that he broke through our defensive scheme and penetrated the lane numerous times,'' said Morehead State coach Kyle Macy. ''He is an outstanding player and proved that today.''

Darby failed to play the entire 40 minutes for the first time this season. He asked out with four minutes remaining.

''He was dog tired,'' Buckeyes coach Jim O'Brien said. ''Anyone who knows Brent knows he's a very fierce competitor. I just hope and pray he's not getting worn down by this.''

Sean Connolly added 12 points for the Buckeyes, but hit only 4-of-13 from the field and missed eight of his nine 3-point attempts.

Zach Williams scored 10 points for Ohio State, which led by as many as 20 points in the first half before the Eagles made their run.

Even though the Buckeyes shot 50 percent, O'Brien wasn't happy with their overall effort. Ohio State was outrebounded 41-30 by Morehead State and had its lead trimmed in half in the second half.

''I'm not tickled with the way we played in stretches today,'' O'Brien said. ''We cannot continue to have the lapses we're having. They had 16 offensive rebounds today. That should not happen.''

The Buckeyes won their second straight since losing consecutive games against No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Duke. Ohio State hadn't played since a 71-64 win over Tennessee Tech on Dec. 7, giving the players a chance to take final exams.

Morehead State, which had scored 100 points in two of its three victories, never got its offense untracked.

The Eagles hit only 36 percent of their shots and committed 11 of their 17 turnovers in the first half while the Buckeyes built a 36-22 lead -- with half of the points coming from Darby.

''We did not play with any intensity in the first half for whatever reason, and Ohio State took advantage of that,'' Macy said.

Morehead State leading scorer Ricky Minard had nine points, 14.8 below his average. Marquis Sykes had 12 points and Chad McKnight scored 10 for the Eagles.

Darby had 15 of the Buckeyes' first 22 points. He hit 7-of-9 shots, including 4-of-5 3-pointers, in the first half while playing the entire 20 minutes.

''I was feeling it today and my teammates got me a lot of open shots,'' said Darby, who also had five assists, four rebounds and four steals.