Nov. 29, 2011

Notes |  Quotes |  Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

Thad MattaPress Conference Video
OhioState Players Press Conference Video
MikeKrzyzewski Press Conference Video

PDF Box Score

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Jared Sullingerscored 21 points and three teammates were close behind as No. 2 Ohio State roared out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back in beating third-ranked Duke 85-63 on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Buckeyes fans chanted “Overrated” at the Blue Devils in the final minute.

The Buckeyes (7-0) never trailed, weathering a Duke rally later in the first half and then leading by 20 for most of the second half.

“Sometimes you just get your butt kicked,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Austin Rivers had 22 points and Mason Plumlee 16 for the Blue Devils (7-1), coming off wins over ranked opponents Michigan and Kansas in their previous two games.

William Buford scored 20, Deshaun Thomas 18 and Aaron Craft17 for the Buckeyes, who gave the Big Ten a 4-2 edge in the conference matchups.

Few would have expected such a lopsided result. Duke came in with a record of 11-1 in ACC/Big Ten games and had beaten its last five Big Ten opponents – including conference bullies Michigan State and Michigan already this season.

The Blue Devils had also won their last four games in which both teams were ranked in the top five.

Craft also had eight assists and five rebounds for the Buckeyes, who built a double-digit lead in the first half and were never really threatened the rest of the way.

They led by 24 with 15 minutes left after Craft banked in a 3 – he laughed after it clanked in. The Blue Devils responded with a 7-0 run to get as close as 58-41 but Ohio State continued to control the paint. Sullinger was fouled and hit two foul shots, then powered up a shot off the backboard for a 66-43 lead shortly before clock trouble allowed both teams to take a breather with 8:42 remaining.

On consecutive possessions, Ohio State got a dunk by Sullinger and a 3 by Craft thanks to around-the-horn passing that found an open player.

It was a festive, capacity crowd of 18,809 at Value City Arena. One female student held up a sign meant for Sullinger that said, “Jared, will you marry me?” When Rivers – the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers – had a turnover, the Ohio State student section chanted, “Daddy’s boy! Daddy’s boy!”

The half was a shocker, with Ohio State setting the pace early, shrugging aside a Duke comeback and then pulling away for a gaping 47-28 lead at the break.

Buford had 13 points (on 5-of-9 shooting) and so did Thomas (6 for 8). Sullinger was just a notch back with 12 points (5 of 7) as the Buckeyes shot 61 percent (20 of 33) to the Blue Devils’ 44 percent (12 for 27).

The Buckeyes ran off the first 11 points while Duke’s younger players appeared nervous and tentative.

After Plumlee ended the cold start with a shot over Sullinger 4 minutes in, the Blue Devils regained their balance as Rivers and Seth Curry took turns beating the Buckeyes off the dribble for layups.

Plumlee’s reverse dunk – the crowd howled that he traveled – cut Ohio State’s lead to 18-17 at the 9:50 mark.

But just that quickly, the Buckeyes streaked away again.

After Buford made two foul shots, Sullinger hit a leaner off glass and Plumlee protested his second foul, with the Buckeyes sophomore completing the three-point play. Substitute guard Jordan Sibertwent high over the rim to tip in a miss before Buford scored in transition. Thomas then tossed in a half-hook from the left baseline to cap a 10-0 run that made it 28-17.

During that spell and beyond, the Buckeyes scored on eight consecutive possessions. When Craft hit a 14-foot jumper off a kickback pass from Sullinger at the 5:38 mark, it was 34-21.

With the crowd roaring and Duke struggling to get anything other than buckets off drives, Ohio State closed the half with Thomas hitting another half-hook in traffic and then watching as his jumper off an inbounds pass bounced three times on the rim before falling as the buzzer sounded.

The Buckeyes, typically a mild-mannered team on the boards, dominated (18-11) and outscored the Blue Devils 10-0 in second-chance points in the opening half.

Craft was an unsung star of the first 20 minutes. He had seven points, five assists, two rebounds and just one turnover – and wasn’t credited for a steal even though he had a hand in several turnovers or Duke misplays.

Rivers was the extent of the Blue Devils’ attack with 13 points at the break.

It was Duke’s second game in Columbus. In the only other meeting in Ohio’s capital city, the Blue Devils won 94-89 in double overtime on Dec. 30, 1964, at old St. John Arena.

The Blue Devils had won their last 35 games in November, dating to a 73-62 loss to Marquette in 2006.

The victory was Ohio State’s 29th in a row at home.