COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Deshaun Thomas, last year’s Indiana Mr. Basketball, came out of a slump with 22 points to lead No. 2 Ohio State past Indiana 82-61 on Sunday.
Thomas scored all the points during a 14-3 first-half run that spanned 3:36 and turned the game into a rout. He had managed just 13 points in his last seven games.
William Buford added 15 points and Jon Diebler and David Lighty each had 11 for the Buckeyes (27-2, 14-2 Big Ten), likely to ascend to No. 1 next week after top-ranked Duke lost at Virginia Tech on Saturday night. The defeat was Indiana’s sixth in a row to Ohio State.
Verdell Jones III had 14 points for the Hoosiers (12-17, 3-13), who have lost six in a row and remain the only Big Ten team without a road win this season (0-10).
Jared Sullinger, leading Ohio State in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (9.9), picked up two fouls early and was limited to five points and seven rebounds in just 13 minutes.
The victory helped Ohio State maintain a one-game lead in the Big Ten with two games remaining – at Penn State on Tuesday night and home against Wisconsin on Sunday. It was Wisconsin that hung the first loss on the Buckeyes on Feb. 12 in Madison.
Ahead by 15 at the break, the Buckeyes scored 13 of the first 17 points against the Hoosiers in the second half and rested many of their top players the rest of the way.
Thomas, who Indiana coach Tom Crean had tried to recruit after he had verbally committed to Ohio State, was the story for the Buckeyes in the first half. He gave them a lift after starters Sullinger, Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale each picked up two fouls.
Indiana, which hasn’t beaten a Top 25 team on the road in more than nine years, led 8-7 after Derek Elston scissored through the lane for a layup at the 16:35 mark, but didn’t score again for almost 8 minutes, until Elston scored again on a short jumper.
Then Thomas took over, hitting two foul shots, then swishing back-to-back 3-pointers. He took an assist pass from Lauderdale for another bucket inside, then spun in a reverse layup and ended the run with another reverse move off glass.
The Buckeyes led 38-23 at the half, with Thomas totaling 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, his only miss coming on a shot behind the arc.
Indiana never seriously threatened in the second half.
The Hoosiers’ Victor Oladipo and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft collided while going for a loose ball with 12:33 left. Oladipo went to the Indiana bench but later returned.
The victory gave Ohio State 19 home victories this season, a record in the program’s 112 seasons. The Buckeyes are 36-1 in Columbus over the last two seasons.
Sullinger hit two free throws early to become only the fourth Ohio State freshman to score 500 or more points in a season, joining current NBA players Michael Redd (658), Kosta Koufos (534) and Greg Oden (501).
Indiana was playing consecutive games against top-10 teams for the first time since 2004. The Hoosiers lost on Wednesday night to No. 8 Purdue, 72-61.