MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – David Lighty scored 19 points and Jared Sullinger had 18 points and 13 rebounds to help top-ranked Ohio State remain unbeaten with an 82-69 victory over No. 18 Minnesota on Sunday.
Every starter for the Buckeyes (24-0, 11-0 Big Ten) scored 10 or more points as they stretched the second-longest winning streak in school history. William Buford added 15 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals, and Ohio State marched forward in this challenging month on the schedule. Up next is a trip to No. 19 Wisconsin on Saturday.
Blake Hoffarber led Minnesota (16-7, 5-6) with 16 points, playing the second half with a limp and a brace on his left knee. Ralph Sampson III and freshman reserve guard Chip Armelin each had 14 points for the Gophers, who had a rough week that ought to push them out of the national rankings. They lost at Indiana on Wednesday.
Minnesota made a late rally to come within three points in a loss at Ohio State last month, but without senior leader and steady point guard Al Nolen there wasn’t nearly enough confidence or poise to match the formidable Buckeyes. The Gophers matched their season high with 19 turnovers.
The Buckeyes went just 10 for 20 from the free throw line and still won by 13. Sullinger was 2 for 8.
Austin Hollins, one of three freshmen in the eight-player rotation Minnesota has remaining after the injuries to Nolen and big man Maurice Walker and the departure of combo guard Devoe Joseph, started in place of center Colton Iverson to give the Gophers more balance and athleticism.
The son of an NBA head coach, Lionel Hollins of the Memphis Grizzlies, Hollins has been contributing more lately with double-digit scoring in two of the last three games and a desperately needed shooting touch from the wing. He looked more like a rookie in this one, though, with a bad-angle layup attempt that hit the bottom of the backboard and a jumper that completely missed the rim.
The 6-foot-10 Iverson wasn’t better off the bench, with four turnovers in 11 first-half minutes. Hoffarber, with a couple of clutch 3-pointers from the top of the key, and Sampson, with a bunch of feather-soft baby hook shots, did their best to make the Gophers competitive. The conference’s leading rebounding team, though, was beaten 23-15 on the boards in the first half and just didn’t have enough firepower or the poise to keep up.
The Buckeyes do a whole lot well, and leaping ability is perhaps one of their most underrated strengths. Either Sullinger or Deshaun Thomas seemed like they got at least a hand on every missed shot, and Lighty beat the Gophers back for a few end-to-end fast-break layups.
Lighty has played with six first-round NBA draft picks already in his college career, and he’ll likely add at least one more to the list whenever Sullinger leaves. For now, this all-Ohio-grown group, except for the freshman Thomas from next-door Indiana, is chugging impressively forward in the chase for a championship while also protecting this unblemished won-loss record.
Dallas Lauderdale had Ohio State’s first six points of the second half, one of several signs this game was going to the Buckeyes. The 6-8 mean-looking shot-blocking specialist, the lowest scorer in coach Thad Matta’s seven-man rotation, included a violent two-handed dunk off an alley-oop inbounds pass in that stretch.
The Buckeyes lost their shooting touch after halftime, not only at the foul line but from all over the court, but it didn’t matter with the way they dominated the pace and flustered the Gophers with their zone defense.
Sampson more than matched Sullinger before the break, but the slender junior lacks the thick freshman’s strength and it showed down the stretch. Near the midpoint of the second half, Sullinger slithered his way inside and muscled the ball up for a layup to draw the foul on Sampson. He missed the free throw, of course, but it didn’t matter.
The packed Williams Arena crowd that was so loud at tipoff and in the early stages of the first half was much quieter later, hushed several times including when Aaron Craft’s 3-pointer beat the shot clock and gave Ohio State a 61-46 lead with 8:10 left.
No. 1 Ohio State 82 (24-0, 11-0), No. 18/20 Minnesota 69 (16-7, 5-6)
Williams Arena – Minneapolis, Minn.
February 6, 2011
Attendance: 14, 625
- The Buckeyes’ 24-0 overall record is the second-best start in school history (1960-61, 27-0). Ohio State currently holds the nation’s longest active winning streak at 24. They are the only remaining unbeaten team in the country. They also have the longest active regular season win streak dating back to last season with 27 wins in a row.
- The 24-game winning streak is the second-longest in Ohio State history (1959-61, 32).
- Ohio State improved to 65-4 when ranked first in the country by the Associated Press.
- The Buckeyes are 51-1 in regular season games as the AP No. 1 team. The record improves to 54-1 in non-NCAA tournament games when AP No. 1.
- As a ranked team, Ohio State is 385-105 all-time. The Buckeyes are 32-1 at home over the last two seasons.
- The Buckeyes improved to 38-1 against Big Ten opponents when ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press.
- Ohio State is 39-2 in its last 41 games.
- The Scarlet and Gray improved to 27-1 in their last 28 Big Ten games.
- The Buckeyes are 122-17 when ranked among the Top 3 in the country.
- The win vs. Minnesota was the 18th-consecutive victory over a Big Ten opponent.
- Ohio State was now won four-consecutive games vs. Minnesota.
- Ohio State swept the season series vs. Minnesota (the Buckeyes defeated the Gophers 67-64 in Columbus, 1/9/11).
- Ohio State has won its last 13 true road games dating back to last season. The last road loss was at No. 11 West Virginia, 1/23/10. The Buckeyes have won their last 12 Big Ten road contests since falling at Minnesota 73-62, 1/9/10. Ohio State last won 12-consecutive (14 total) road games in Big Ten play during the 1959-60,’60-61 season.
- When ranked in the Top 10 nationally, Ohio State is 264-56 with wins in 55 of its last 57 outings.
- The Buckeyes are 11-0 in league play for the first time since the 1961-62 season and for the fourth time in history. Ohio State finished 14-0 in 1961 and had 12-0 starts in 1960 and 1962.
- The Buckeyes are 78-55 vs. the Golden Gophers all-time, improving their overall Big Ten record to 712-658.
- Minnesota moves to 3-18 vs. AP No. 1-ranked team (last win was 69-62 vs. Illinois, 1/26/89).
- Ohio State improves to 29-37 at Minnesota.
- The Buckeyes improve to 4-0 vs. the Golden Gophers when ranked No. 1 (last was a 72-62 win, 2/10/62,).
- Ohio State moves to 3-1 vs. Minnesota when both teams are ranked.
- Ohio State is 24-3 vs. Minnesota when ranked among the Associated Press Top 25.
- This is the first time Ohio State has defeated Minnesota at Williams Arena during the Tubby Smith era. It is also the first time in the last eight games that the home team has not won.
- Tubby Smith is now 3-6 vs. the Buckeyes.
- Minnesota gave up a season-high 22 offensive rebounds to the Buckeyes.
- The Buckeye freshmen have accounted for 47 percent of total scoring for the season (876/1868), including 28 of Ohio State’s 82 total points against Minnesota.
- Minnesota’s 39 second-half points are tied for the most allowed in the half by Ohio State this season (FGCU, 12/15/10).
- Ohio State held Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe to eight points (tied-second fewest of the season) and seven rebounds (tied-third fewest of the year).
- This is the 249th-consecutive game Ohio State has made at least one 3-point field goal (1/10/04 vs. Penn State was the last game with zero made).
- The win against Minnesota was the 75th victory for the Buckeyes since the 2008-09 season, which is fifth-most in the nation during that span.
- With the win, the Buckeyes hold the record for the best start to a season after losing the National Player of the Year (Evan Turner). The previous record was held by UCLA in 1969-70 when the Bruins went 21-0 after losing Player of the Year Lew Alcindor.
- Minnesota moves to 2-5 vs. ranked teams this season (last win was 70-67 vs. Purdue, 1/13/11).
- Ohio State has had a player record a double-double (10+ points, rebs, assists, steals or blocks) in 817 games. The Buckeyes are 560-257 in those contests (.686). Freshman Jared Sullinger (18/13) recorded a double-double vs. Minnesota, his 11th on the season.
- Ohio State had 18 team assists, one more than their season average of 16.8 apg, which is second in the Big Ten.
- The Buckeyes only allowed Minnesota to score 69 points, the most of any Big Ten opponent (68 was previous low; twice at Iowa and at Illinois. Ohio State only gives up an average of 57.3 ppg; second in the Big Ten.
- Ohio State connected on 8-20 from behind the arc. They are currently second in the Big Ten with a 40 percent average (182-450).
- The 24-0 record to begin the season is the best start for Thad Matta at Ohio State (previous best was in 2005-06, when the team began 11-0).
- This season is the seventh-consecutive year Matta has guided the Buckeyes to a 20-win campaign. That extends the longest streak in Ohio State history.
- Since Matta took over at Ohio State in 2004-05, the Buckeyes have amassed 79 Big Ten wins, the most of any other team. Wisconsin is second with 78 (The Badgers won 66-59 vs. No. 10 Purdue on Tuesday).
- Matta has won at least 20 games in each of his 11 seasons as a head coach. Only Mark Few (Gonzaga), among active coaches, has more consecutive 20-win seasons to start a career.
- Matta improved his career record to 282-85 overall and 180-54 at Ohio State.
- With the win, Ohio State is 31-14 in February under Matta and 2-0 this season.
- Matta is now 8-5 vs. Minnesota in his career, with an overall mark of 90-37 against Big Ten opponents.
- Matta is 90-17 vs. non-conference competition at Ohio State and 90-37 vs. Big Ten foes (regular season and Big Ten tournament games) for an overall record of 180-54. He is 115-10 in games played in Columbus, which are the most home wins among Big Ten schools during that span.
- The Buckeyes are 18-0 this season and 148-19 under Matta when leading at the half.
- While outrebounding Minnesota 39-33, Ohio State improves to 15-0 on the season and 102-14 under Matta when outrebounding their opponents (Ohio State’s plus-five rebounding margin is second in the Big Ten).
- During Matta’s tenure at Ohio State, the Buckeyes are 166-5 when leading with five minutes to play.
- The Buckeyes are 22-0 this season and 150-43 when having 15 or fewer turnovers in a game (Ohio State had eight turnovers vs. Minnesota).
- When Ohio State scores 70 or more points, they are 16-0 this season and 120-11 under Matta.
- Big Ten Freshman of the Week (10th-time) Jared Sullinger finished the contest with 18 points. Sullinger has scored at least 10 points in 22 of 24 games. He averaged 18.5 points and 14.0 rebounds a game last week.
- Sullinger also added 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes (his 10.1 average is second in the Big Ten), good for his 11th double-double of the season. He now has 246 rebounds on the season. It is the 12th time this season he has had 10 or more rebounds.
- Sullinger had four defensive boards; his average of seven per game is good for second in the Big Ten. He also pulled in eight offensive rebounds. He averages three per game, which is also second in the conference.
- Lighty, the third player in Ohio State history to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists, ended the contest with a game-high 19 points, three rebounds and three assists. Lighty’s current marks: 1,212 points, 520 rebounds and 333 assists.
- Lighty has played in 144 games as a Buckeye, the most all-time in an Ohio State uniform. Lighty also leads all NCAA active players in games played (Duke’s Kyle Singler is second with 132).
- Lighty recorded his 118th win as a Buckeye vs. Minnesota on Sunday. He had 35 as a freshman, 25 as a sophomore, 29 as a junior and seven during the 2008-09 season when he received a medical redshirt because of a broken foot. He set the OSU record with his 112th win.
- The game vs. Minnesota marked senior David Lighty’s 112th career start for Ohio State, two away from tying Herb Williams for sixth-place in career games started in a Buckeye jersey.
- With 19 points, Lighty is now one shy of tying Jamar Butler for 25th-place in Ohio State history for career scoring.
- Lighty’s 19 point-performance is the 16th-time this season he has scored in double-figures. It is also the sixth-time he has led the team in scoring this season.
- With three made 3-pointers vs. Minnesota, senior Jon Diebler now has 328 for his career, passing Cory Bradford (327, Illinois, 1998-2002) for third place in career 3-pointers made in Big Ten history. Diebler is three away from tying Shawn Respert (331, Michigan State, 1991-95) for second all-time.
- Diebler’s 2.86 average of made 3-pointers per game is second in the Big Ten.
- With three made 3-pointers, Diebler extends his streak to 39 games in a row with at least one 3-pointer made.
- Diebler’s current 3-point field goal percentage of 47 percent (68-142) puts him in the record books as having the best single season three-point percentage.
- With 10 points against the Golden Gophers, Diebler now has 1,336 career points, passing Jim Cleamons for 23rd place in Ohio State history. Diebler is 32 points away from tying Brent Darby for 22nd place.
- Junior guard William Buford knocked down 15 points, pushing his career total to 1,216. Buford passed Luke Witte (1,211) for 31st-place in all-time career scoring at Ohio State. He is seven points behind John Havlicek for 30th-place.
- The 15 point-performance for Buford is the 18th time this season he has scored in double-figures.
- Aaron Craft had four assists. He now has 111 assists on the season to just 53 turnovers.
- Craft had one steal, for a total of 41 on the season. (His average of 1.68 is second in the conference).
- Lauderdale had two blocks vs. Minnesota. He now has 202 career blocks. Overall, Lauderdale has 43 of the team’s 83 blocks on the season.
- Lauderdale had 10 points. He scored the first six of the second-half. It was the fourth-time this season he has scored in double-figures.