Ohio State, Sullinger crush Jackson State

Published 11:35 pm Saturday, November 19, 2011

COLUMBUS (AP) — Tevester Anderson voted Ohio State No. 1 in the coaches’ poll this week.

After watching his Jackson State team lose to the third-ranked Buckeyes 85-41 on Friday night, he believes he got it right.

“Seeing them close up tonight, it didn’t change my mind at all,” Anderson said. “They’ll get my vote all along.”

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Jared Sullinger had 20 points and 11 rebounds in little more than a half and the Buckeyes used an 18-0 blitz to roll over the Tigers.

Deshaun Thomas, William Buford and Jordan Sibert each had 11 points for the Buckeyes (3-0), who were coming off an 81-74 victory over No. 7 Florida, also in the Global Sports Shootout.

All 12 players on the roster saw action, with 11 scoring and all 12 grabbing a rebound.

“One of the things we talked about before the game was coming off the Florida game last year in Gainesville, what we did when we came home against Wilmington,” Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. “I put the numbers up on the board. We were up 46-18 at halftime and won it 81-41. It looks like by the scores there, they kind of took to heart what we were talking about.”

The Tigers still led 11-10 after 6 minutes, but then the Buckeyes turned the game into a dunk-a-thon.

With the Buckeyes picking up 23 points off Jackson State’s 16 turnovers, they took control and never looked back to build a 46-17 lead at the half. The turning point was the 18-0 run covering a 5-minute span, with Sullinger scoring nine points and Jordan Sibert adding five.

Aaron Craft had only two points in the spurt, but he forced five turnovers and had two assists. He finished with four assists, five steals and one basket in 17 minutes but helped turn the game into a rout.

“Being the point guard and guarding the guy who always brings the ball up the floor, it’s kind of my job to set the tone on defense,” Craft said. “Everyone sees me as I start off, so if I’m slacking the rest team has a tendency to maybe not play as hard. One thing we had to do was get us going, get us up-tempo and the best way to do that is to get some steals on defense, to get some easy baskets, and we were fortunate enough to do that.”

Kelsey Howard scored 17 points for Jackson State (0-4), which had 26 turnovers — which resulted in an amazing 41 points for Ohio State.

“They can turn you over. They’re very athletic. They got practically every loose ball,” Anderson said. “We’d go up to the basket sometimes for a layup and they’d just take it away from us.”

The Buckeyes scored 32 of the first 45 points in the second half while substituting liberally.

Sullinger had 16 points and 10 rebounds at the break as the Buckeyes built a 29-point lead. He finished 7 of 9 from the field and 6 of 7 at the line. He played only a minute in the second half.

“I love watching this team play, especially the young guys that don’t play a lot,” he said. “At the same time, it was pretty awesome to kind of sit the bench for a little bit.”

The loss dropped Anderson’s record at Jackson State to 131-132. The Tigers were expected to struggle somewhat this season after losing two of their top three scorers and their top four rebounders from last year’s team.

The Tigers are being outscored by 36 points a game so far this season.

“This is the youngest team I ever coached,” Anderson said. “Too many freshmen and sophomores to be competitive, especially in a league like this. We’re going to be a better team come February.”

The victory was Ohio State’s 25th in a row at home, the fourth-longest run in school history. The longest streak was 50 in a row (1959-64 during the Jerry Lucas-Gary Bradds era), followed by 30 in a row (1990-92 with Jimmy Jackson) and 28 (2006-07 behind Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr.).

The Buckeyes play their next five games at home — including the ACC/Big Ten Challenge showdown with Duke on Nov. 29 — before next hitting the road to take on Kansas on Dec. 10.

“One of the things we felt like we could do was try to score off of our defense,” Matta said. “We were pretty successful with that once we got going.”

Just like teams getting No. 1 votes are supposed to.


Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap .