B.J. Mullens’ career-high 19 points leads Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Freshman B.J. Mullens, getting the most playing time of his brief career, scored 19 points to lead No. 15 Ohio State past UNC-Asheville 83-59 on Monday night.
The 7-foot Mullens had never played more than 20 minutes nor scored more than 11 points. But with coach Thad Matta trying out various combinations against an overmatched and undersized opponent, Mullens dominated. He was 8-of-11 from the field, including six dunks, and added eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
Evan Turner had 17 points, freshman William Buford added a career-high 16 and Dallas Lauderdale had 11 for the Buckeyes (9-0).
John Williams had 10 points for the Bulldogs (4-8). Reid Augst, Asheville’s leading scorer at 14.5 points a game, didn’t score until hitting a 3-pointer 3 minutes into the second half and finished with four points.
Ohio State has won 14 straight games, dating to an 84-66 victory over Asheville in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament last season on the way to winning the title.
The Buckeyes had a 17-4 lead after 6 1/2 minutes, but with Turner picking up two fouls and Matta experimenting with lineups, the Bulldogs clawed their way back. They pulled to 29-24 with a 12-2 run before Ohio State reeled off 12 straight points at the end of the first half and beginning of the second to pull away.
The Buckeyes scoring the final eight points of the half to lead 37-24 with Mullens leading the way with 13 points.
Mullens had a dunk and Buford hit a basket to stretch the lead at the outset of the second half and the Buckeyes went on to lead by as many as 29 points.
Asheville’s Eddie Biedenbach remained stuck on 199 career wins in 15 years as a head coach. Over the last six days, his team lost 99-56 at No. 6 Duke and 71-52 at Buffalo on Saturday before busing to Columbus.
The Buckeyes have won their last 54 games in Columbus against unranked teams. They had not lost at home as a ranked team to an unranked nonconference opponent since a 76-67 setback to South Alabama on Dec. 16, 1980, a span of 41 games.