Short-handed Buckeyes beat Gophers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 6, 2003

COLUMBUS -- Emonte Jernigan knew he would have a chance to shine.

And shine he did.

Jernigan scored 21 points as short-handed Ohio State beat Minnesota 73-68 Wednesday night.

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''It was just one of those games where I had my opportunity and I had to hit shots, and I was able to do that tonight,'' Jernigan said.

Jernigan's biggest shots came early in the second half. He hit three straight 3-pointers over a span of about three minutes to start a run that gave the Buckeyes control.

''He launched a couple,'' Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. ''When they go, as a coach, you just sit back down and thank the Lord.''

With the game tied at 48 with 13:04 to play, Jernigan made back-to-back 3-pointers to trigger a 16-7 run that gave the Buckeyes (11-9, 4-5 Big Ten) a 64-57 lead with 5:20 to play. Jernigan scored nine points during the run.

Minnesota pulled to 67-64 with 2:06 to play, but Brent Darby made five free throws in the last 1:53 to help seal the win.

Led by Jernigan, the Ohio State bench outscored the Golden Gophers' (12-7, 4-4 Big Ten) reserves 31-8. Matt Marinchick came off the bench to add 10 points for the Buckeyes.

''You really appreciate the guys who do not play and stay with it,'' O'Brien said. ''They have to be ready and they have to be able to take advantage of whatever opportunity may come.

''When their opportunity came tonight, they both delivered big time.''

For the second straight game, Ohio State's opponent decided to sit back and launch shots from behind the 3-point line. After Northwestern shot 10-for-36 on 3-pointers Saturday, Minnesota shot 9-for-36 on 3-pointers.

''It's incredible to me that this is two games in a row where a team has shot 35 or 36 threes,'' O'Brien said. ''That's a load. They make a few more of them . . . maybe they win the game.''

Jernigan and Marinchick were needed, as the Buckeyes played without center Velimir Radinovic and point guard Brandon Fuss-Cheatham. Radinovic suffered a compound dislocation of a finger in practice Tuesday and was in the hospital. Fuss-Cheatham sat out with a sore left knee, which he had surgery on in the preseason. The Buckeyes were also without center Terence Dials, who is out with a back injury.

''We were both short-handed tonight,'' Minnesota coach Dan Monson said. ''They handled the adversity a lot better than we did.

''Jernigan hit some big-time shots for them. We didn't do that great a job of getting out on them.''

Ohio State had six players -- Jernigan, Marinchick, Zach Williams, Matt Sylvester, Shun Jenkins and Darby -- play 20 minutes or more. Darby played all 40 minutes and Williams played 37. Sean Connolly, who came into the game averaging almost 38 minutes a game, played 18.

Maurice Hargrow led Minnesota with 17 points, Michael Bauer had 16, Rick Rickert had 13 and Jerry Holman had 10. Darby had 18 for Ohio State and Williams had 11.

Ohio State shot 22-for-56 from the floor and Minnesota shot 25-for-67.

Ohio State turned the ball over just nine times and committed 17 fouls. Minnesota turned it over 11 times and had 26 fouls.