INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Jared Sullinger had 15 points and 11 rebounds and No. 1 Ohio State defeated Penn State 71-60 in the Big Ten tournament final on Sunday to strengthen its case for the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
Sullinger, the tournament’s most outstanding player, averaged 16.3 points and 14 rebounds in the tournament to help the top-seeded Buckeyes (32-2) repeat as champions.
William Buford scored 18 points and Jon Diebler added 15 for the Buckeyes, who also won the league’s regular-season title.
Talor Battle scored 24 points and Jeff Brooks added 19 for Penn State (19-14), which reached the final for the first time.
The Nittany Lions haven’t reached the NCAA tournament since 2001. Penn State was trying to become the first team since Iowa in 2001 to win four consecutive games to claim the title.
Penn State’s Tim Frazier, who scored 22 points in the semifinal win over Michigan State, didn’t score against Ohio State until 6:50 remained and finished with five points.
The Nittany Lions had allowed 45.3 points per game in their three tournament wins, but Ohio State surpassed that total with 13 minutes remaining. The Buckeyes shot 64 percent in the second half.
The Buckeyes won their seventh straight game and became the second team in conference history to play in the final for three straight years. They became the first repeat tournament champion since Michigan State in 1999 and 2000, and both of those teams reached the Final Four.
Battle drained two early 3-pointers, but Ohio State still led 10-8 before going on a 6-0 run that caused Penn State to call a timeout.
It took more than 9 minutes for a Penn State player other than Battle to score, but once his teammates began producing, the gap closed. Two free throws by Jermaine Marshall cut Ohio State’s lead to 22-21.
Ohio State closed the half strong, and Diebler’s 3-pointer over Battle at the buzzer gave the Buckeyes a 29-23 lead.
Ohio State continued its hot shooting early in the second half. Consecutive 3-pointers by William Buford and Aaron Craft gave the Buckeyes a 46-29 lead with 13 minutes remaining.
Battle drained a 3-pointer with 5 minutes remaining to cut Ohio State’s lead to 57-47, but Sullinger responded with a three-point play that halted Penn State’s rally.
- The Buckeyes’ 32-2 overall record is the second-best start in school history (1960-61, 27-0).
- Jared Sullinger was named the 2011 BTT Most Outstanding Player. He also made the 2011 All-BTT team. Ohio State’s Jon Diebler and William Buford also made the squad along with Michael Thompson of Northwestern, Kalin Lucas of Michigan State and Talor Battle of Penn State.
- As a ranked team, Ohio State is 393-107 all-time.
- The 32 win total is now No. 2 in Ohio State history for overall wins in a season. The record is 35 wins set during the 2006-07 season when the Buckeyes appeared in the 2007 NCAA National Championship game.
- Ohio State has now won seven games in a row.
- The Buckeyes move to 17-8 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, including wins in 13 of their last 16 tournament games.
- As the No. 1 seed in the tournament, Ohio State is 11-2.
- Ohio State improves to 70-5 when ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press and 22-3 as the nation’s top team in the coaches poll.
- The Buckeyes improved to 43-2 against Big Ten opponents when ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press.
- The Buckeyes are 54-2 in regular season games as the AP No. 1 team. The record improves to 59-2 in non-NCAA tournament games when AP No. 1.
- Ohio State moves to 3-0 against Penn State as the No. 1 ranked team, and second time this season (82-61 win at Penn State, 3/1/11).
- The win is the third time this season that Ohio State has defeated Penn State (an 82-21 win at Penn State, 3/1/11 and a 69-66 victory, 1/15/11 in Columbus).
- The Buckeyes are 130-19 when ranked among the Top 3 in the country.
- When ranked in the Top 10 nationally, Ohio State is 272-58 with wins in 63 of its last 68 outings.
- Ohio State is 47-4 in its last 51 games.
- The Scarlet and Gray improve to 35-3 in their last 38 Big Ten games and 26-2 in their last 28.
- Ohio State is 14-2 vs. Penn State when ranked among the Associated Press Top 25.
- The Buckeyes are 27-12 vs. the Nittany Lions all-time, with an overall Big Ten record of 720-660.
- Ohio State has won the previous 16 games with Penn State. It is the third longest active streak in the NCAA major conferences.
- Ohio State has won 84 games since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, tied for the fourth-best in the nation over that stretch with Pittsburgh.
- The Buckeye freshmen have accounted for 45 percent of total scoring for the season (1,109/2,460), including 24 of Ohio State’s 71 total points against Penn State.
- This is the 259th-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).
- Ohio State’s four returning starters for 2010-11 (Jon Diebler, David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale and William Buford) have combined for 428 career starts and 533 games played.
- Ohio State is 14-4 in the Big Ten Tounament under Matta.
- It is the fourth time in seven tournaments under Matta that Ohio State has earned the No. 1 seed.
- Thad Matta teams own four of the top eight single season win totals in Ohio State history.
- The 32-2 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.
- Matta has won at least 10 Big Ten regular-season games in each of the last six seasons. That effort surpassed Fred Taylor’s mark of 10+ league wins in each of the five seasons from 1960-64. Those were during 14-game regular-season slates. The Big Ten played a 16-game schedule in Matta’s first three seasons (8, 12, 15 league wins) and an 18-game schedule the last four (10, 10, 14, 16).
- Since Matta took over at Ohio State in 2004-05, the Buckeyes have amassed 85 Big Ten regular season wins, which is first in the conference. He has the best overall record with a winning percentage of 77 percent.
- 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’s career record now stands at 290-87 overall and 188-56 at Ohio State.
- With the win, Ohio State is 36-19 in March under Matta and 5-0 this season.
- Matta is now 15-0 vs. Penn State in his career, with an overall mark of 98-39 against Big Ten opponents.
- Matta is 90-17 vs. non-conference competition at Ohio State and 98-39 vs. Big Ten foes (regular season and Big Ten tournament games) for an overall record of 188-56.
- Ohio State remains undefeated at 32-0 this season and 173-5 under Matta when leading with five minutes to play.
- When shooting better than the opponent, Ohio State improves to 24-1 this season and 165-18 under Matta.
- The Buckeyes are 26-1 this season and 156-20 under Matta when leading at the half.
- While outrebounding Penn State 33-32, Ohio State improves to 21-2 on the year and 109-16 under Matta when grabbing more boards than its opponent.
- The Buckeyes improve to 30-1 this season and 158-44 when limiting themselves to under 15 total turnovers (Ohio State had seven turnovers vs. Penn State).
- With 71 points, the Buckeyes are 22-0 this season and 126-11 under Matta when scoring more than 70 total points in a game.
- The Buckeyes are 17-1 this season and 93-7 under Matta when shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
- First-Team All-Big Ten Jared Sullinger finished the contest with 15 points. Sullinger has scored at least 10 points in 30 of 34 games.
- With 15 points, Sullinger adds to his mark of becoming just the 29th Buckeye all-time to score more than 500 points in a season. He now has 585 on his rookie campaign. Kosta Koufos is the last freshman to reach 500 points in a rookie season with 534 in 2008-09. Evan Turner and William Buford each scored more than 500 points last season.
- Sullinger also added a team-high 11 rebounds for the Buckeyes (his 10.1 average is second in the Big Ten), good for his 17th double-double. He now has 344 rebounds on the season.
- Sullinger is second in scoring during a freshman season at Ohio State. Michael Redd is first with 658 points in 1998.
- Sullinger 344 rebounds are the most ever by a freshman at Ohio State.
- Jon Diebler’s current 3-point field goal percentage of 50 percent (102-204) puts him in the record books as having the best single season 3-point percentage.
- Diebler’s 50 percent shooting percentage from 3-point range is No. 1 in the Big Ten.
- With three made 3-pointers, Diebler extends his streak to 50 games in a row with at least one 3-pointer made.
- With 15 points against Penn State, Diebler now has 1,493 career points passing Jerry Francis (1,486) for 17th-place in career scoring. Troy Taylor is 16th with 1,497.
- The game marked the 23rd time this season Diebler has scored in double-figures.
- The game vs. Penn State was Diebler’s 141st game donning the Scarlet and Gray, good for second all-time at Ohio State.
- David Lighty, the third player in Ohio State history to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists, ended the contest with eight points, three rebounds and five assists. Lighty’s current marks: 1,413 points, 570 rebounds and 362 assists.
- With eight points, Lighty now has 1,413 for his career, passing Larry Bolden (1,408) for 21st-place in career scoring at Ohio State. Paul Ebert is 20th with 1,436.
- Lighty has now been a part of 127 Buckeye victories during his tenure in Columbus (Lighty had 35 wins as a freshman, 24 as a sophomore and 29 as a junior in 2009-10. He is credited with seven wins at the start of the 2008-09 season, which ended when he broke his right foot and earned a medical redshirt). The previous record was set by Danny Peters and Mark Titus (both played from 2007-10), earning 110 wins apiece.
- 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 140).
- The game vs. Penn State marked senior David Lighty’s 122nd career start for Ohio State. He is one behind Ken Johnson (123, 1998-01) for third all-time as a Buckeye.
- Junior guard William Buford had a game-high 18 points. His career total now stands at 1,377, passing Brent Darby (1,368) for 24th place. Brian Brown is 23rd with 1,384.
- The 14 point-performance for Buford is the 26th time this season he has scored in double-figures, which is second-most on the team.
- Buford has scored in double-figures in 12 out of his last 14 Big Ten games.
- Aaron Craft had three assists. He now has 153 assists on the season to just 73 turnovers. Craft averages 4.5 assists per game, leading all league freshmen.
- Craft also had one steal for 66 total on the season (his 1.94 average per game is first in the Big Ten), leading all league freshman.
- Craft is now in second place for steals by a freshman in Ohio State history.