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January 23, 1999

Box Score | Notes & Quotes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio State got its revenge.

In the Buckeyes’ dreadful 1997-98 season, the lowest point might have come at Minnesota.

Ohio State didn’t forget, and its revenge came Saturday with a surprisingly easy 89-60 victory over the 17th-ranked Golden Gophers.

“They killed us last year,” forward Jason Singleton said of 76-53 loss at Williams Arena. “We owed them.”

The memory burned into the Buckeyes’ minds was Minnesota senior Sam Jacobson pumping up 3-pointers near the finish, trying to extend his string of 20-point games in a contest long since decided.

“They rubbed it in our noses,” said Scoonie Penn, who matched his Ohio State best with 24 points.

“We wanted to blow them out,” said Michael Redd, who scored 17 of his 19 points as Ohio State rolled to a big first-half lead and never looked back. “It was in the back of our minds. We wanted to get revenge in a big way.”

The Buckeyes (15-5, 5-2 in the Big Ten) won for the fourth time in five tries against a ranked opponent during a grueling three-week span. They have won the four by an average of 20 points, including routs of then-No. 13 Indiana (73-56) and No. 16 Purdue (72-43).

Quincy Lewis, the conference’s leading scorer, was the only player for Minnesota (12-4, 3-3 Big Ten) in double figures. He hit his average with 23 points.

It was Minnesota’s second-worst loss ever in 117 meetings with Ohio State, surpassed only by a 94-63 Buckeye win in 1992. It was also the most points Ohio State had scored in a conference game in more than six years.

“They just kicked our fanny,” Minnesota coach Clem Haskins said. “They are a top-15 team.”

No team had shot better than 44.6 percent against Minnesota all season. But Ohio State – leading the Big Ten in shooting – hit 33-of-61 from the field for 54.1 percent to the Gophers’ 38 percent. The Buckeyes’ starting five was 8-for-17 from 3-point range.

Penn hit 9-of-13 shots from the field and also had four assists and four rebounds.

“What a difference a premier guard makes,” Haskins said of Penn, a transfer from Boston College who watched Ohio State go 8-22 a year ago. “He put on a display. We couldn’t do anything with him. He’s one of the top guards in the country.”

In addition to Redd’s 19 points, Singleton was 7-for-8 from the field for 16 points and Ken Johnson had 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.

“I’m on record of telling you how much I love that kid,” said Ohio State coach Jim O’Brien. “But it’s a disservice to the other guys. Scoonie is by far the biggest component, but this does not happen with just Scoonie.”

Minnesota, 1-8 on the road a year ago, fell to 0-2 in Big Ten road games this year.

As in their 72-43 victory over Purdue four days earlier -which they led 42-22 at halftime – the Buckeyes dominated the opening 20 minutes and never trailed in building a 43-32 lead at the break.

Redd scored five points in the opening 26 seconds and the Buckeyes hit nine of their first 10 shots from the field to build a 21-5 lead by the 15:44 mark. Redd had 10 points in the early surge.

Minnesota never got closer than eight points again. The Buckeyes opened the second half with a 6-0 run and later added an 11-0 spurt and led by as many as 35 points at 82-47. Jon Sanderson dunked with 2 seconds left off an alley-oop pass from Boban Savovic, adding an exclamation point to the rout.

O’Brien wasn’t ready to claim a spot in the top 25, let alone one in the NCAA tournament.

“That’s still a big stretch in my mind,” he said. “We’ve had the benefit of five of our seven conference games at home. Now it’s going to get increasingly difficult. Before we throw out too many platitudes, I think we need to reserve what we’ve done and see where we are.”