Dec. 20, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Jared Sullinger bounced back from his latest injury to score 18 points and grab 11 rebounds, leading No. 2 Ohio State past Lamar 70-50 on Tuesday night.
Deshaun Thomas, chosen as the Big Ten’s player of the week on Monday, added 16 points for the Buckeyes (11-1). His streak of making 17 consecutive two-point field goal attempts ended on his first shot of the game.
Devon Lamb and Stan Brown each had 10 points for Lamar (8-4), which had a four-game winning streak come to an end. The Cardinals’ record against Big Ten teams dropped to 1-5.
The Buckeyes had played three of their last four games without Sullinger healthy. The All-America missed two games with back spasms – including Ohio State’s only loss, a 78-67 setback at No. 13 Kansas on Dec. 10 – and all but 6 minutes of Saturday’s 74-66 win at South Carolina with an ankle injury.
But he warmed up without any obvious discomfort, was in the starting lineup and picked up his sixth double-double of the season.
The win was Ohio State’s 32nd straight at home, extending the second-longest streak in school history.
Lamar coach Pat Knight’s father, Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, was honored at halftime with an alumni award. A 1962 graduate of Ohio State, he was a member of the 1960 team that won the school’s only national championship.
The Buckeyes trailed just once, 4-3, and slowly took over the game.
A 3-pointer by Lenzelle Smith Jr. made it 6-4 and touched off an 11-2 run that put the Buckeyes in command to stay.
Thomas hit a 3 from the left corner late in the half to give Ohio State a 34-21 lead. They maintained a double-figure lead the rest of the way while mixing in subs and despite some cold shooting by William Buford. He finished 3 of 11 from the field for seven points, leaving the court at one point in the first half while grimacing and holding his right shoulder.
Aaron Craft had his usual all-around game for Ohio State with four points, six assists and three steals.
The loudest cheer of the game came in the closing seconds when Shannon Scott tossed an alley-oop pass to J.D. Weatherspoon for a dunk, allowing the Buckeyes to reach 70 points – and giving the fans free french fries at a fast-food chain.
The Buckeyes improved to 77-2 against nonconference opponents in Columbus in coach Thad Matta’s tenure.
Bob Knight received a University Ambassador Medal, presented by the president and CEO of Ohio State’s alumni association, two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.
Knight teased Griffin that “you could play for me” but added he’d have to play defense because he wouldn’t let him shoot.
Knight also said he was grateful for his days at Ohio State, particularly what he learned under his late coach, Fred Taylor.
“I don’t know what I would have become,” Knight said. “I don’t think it would have been a minister.”