William Buford leads four players in double-digits, scores career-high 26 points
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio State honored its 1960 national championship team, then the current Buckeyes showed they could play a little, too.
William Buford scored a career-high 26 points and Evan Turner and Jon Diebler each had 19 points to lead the 20th-ranked Buckeyes past Minnesota 85-63 Sunday for their fifth win in six games.
The Buckeyes (16-6, 6-3 Big Ten) shot 63 percent against Minnesota (13-8, 4-5), which came in leading the conference by limiting opponents to just 38.6 percent.
Rodney Williams had 13 points, Ralph Sampson III had 11, and Damian Johnson and Blake Hoffarber each had 10 to lead the Golden Gophers.
The 1960 national championship squad led by Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek was honored at halftime. That team beat California 75-55 for the school’s only national title in basketball.
Against Minnesota, this year’s Buckeyes shot 73 percent from the field in the opening half to build a 49-35 lead and never looked back.
There was no clear, lopsided run which powered the Buckeyes to the big lead. They just slowly pulled away, playing patiently on offense and getting points off their cloying, trapping defense.
With Ohio State ahead 32-24 late in the half, Buford, the freshman of the year in the Big Ten last season, hit a runner in the lane, Lighty hit a spectacular driving layup while falling and Buford added two foul shots to push the lead to 38-24.
The Golden Gophers, just 1-5 on the road, never got closer than 12 points again. The Buckeyes led by 28 points in the second half and coasted to the finish.
Turner added eight assists and three rebounds. Buford had five rebounds and five assists.
Minnesota had 17 turnovers that helped fuel the Buckeyes’ transition game, leading to 24 points.
At halftime, members of the 1960 team – which included Hall of Famers Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Bob Knight and the late coach, Fred Taylor, were honored. Knight spoke of Taylor, crediting him for bringing a disparate group of players together for that one championship season.
A banner honoring Taylor was unfurled from the rafters.