Dec 21, 2002

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Post Game Press Conference Audio
Ohio State Head Coach Jim O’Brien
Seton Hall Head Coach Louis Orr

AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sean Connolly scored eight points in a 21-6 first-half run and then made several key plays as Ohio State pulled away in the second half to beat Seton Hall 71-54 Saturday night.

Connolly finished with 22 points as the Buckeyes improved to 4-3. Their previous losses have come to three of the top four teams in the most recent rankings: Alabama, Duke and Pittsburgh.

Connolly’s output was his most ever since transferring to Ohio State. His career best was 24 points as a freshman at Providence.

Andre Barrett had 18 points for Seton Hall (3-3), which has lost three of four meetings with the Buckeyes.

Ohio State coach Jim O’Brien was hit with a technical foul at the 12:32 mark of the first half while protesting an offensive foul against Zach Willliams – and the Buckeyes promptly pulled away.

They scored 21 of the next 27 points to turn a 13-11 advantage into a 34-16 lead with just under 2 minutes left in the half. Connolly scored eight points – hitting both of his 3-point attempts – and Matt Sylvester came off the bench to add six points in the flurry.

The Pirates scored the final six points of the half to trail 34-22 at the break.

Connolly opened the second half with a 3-pointer and after the Pirates scored back-to-back baskets, Williams scored inside, Connolly hit two free throws, stole a pass and then assisted on another Williams layup as the Buckeyes streaked to a 43-26 lead by the 15:42 mark.

Connolly, who hit 4 of 7 3-point attempts, later added five points in a 7-0 run that swelled the lead to 59-41. The spurt was helped along by a direct technical called on Seton Hall’s John Allen for kicking an Ohio State player during a scramble for a loose ball.

Connolly finished 6 of 11 from the field, 6 of 7 at the line and had one assist and seven rebounds.

Velimir Radinovich, filling in for the injured Terence Dials, scored 13 points. Williams also had 13 rebounds and leading-scorer Brent Darby added 12 – 6 under his season average.

Kelly Whitney had 12 points for Seton Hall, which lost its second in a row.

Sylvester and Darby fouled out for Ohio State, as did Whitney, Greg Morton and Donald Copeland for the Pirates. The teams combined for 50 fouls and 59 free throws.

Ohio State’s fourth-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, Dials missed the game because of back spasms.

Dials is averaging 7 points and 5.8 rebounds a game for the Buckeyes.

Dials participated in the Buckeyes’ shootaround on Saturday morning but complained of back pain when he left the floor. He is listed as day to day by Ohio State’s medical staff.