Nov. 23, 2011

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) William Buford scored 23 points and Jared Sullinger added 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 3 Ohio State past VMI 107-74 on Wednesday night.

Aaron Craft had 13 points and eight assists, Deshaun Thomas 11 points and J.D. Weatherspoon 10 points for the Buckeyes (5-0), who shot 68 percent from the field.

Buford, the only senior on Ohio State’s roster, had hit just 8 of 23 field-goal attempts in Ohio State’s last two games and was shooting just 41.7 percent from the field on the season. He made 10 of 16 shots from the field, including both 3-point attempts and his only foul shot.

Keith Gabriel led VMI (3-2) with 21 points, with Ron Burks adding 19 and Stan Okoye 12. The Keydets were playing their first ranked opponent since a 107-69 loss to then-No. 4 Ohio State on Nov. 10, 2006. That Buckeyes team went on to the national championship game before falling to defending NCAA champion Florida, 84-75.

The Keydets, who prefer a fast-paced game, came in averaging 88.2 points a game (allowing 82) while pumping up a shot every 34 seconds. Early on, the Buckeyes beat them at their own game by hurrying back against the press for easy baskets. Sullinger made all four first-half field-goals, all from within a step of the basket.

The Buckeyes ran their home winning streak to 27 in a row, and can tie the third-longest streak in school history when they host Valparaiso on Friday night. They play their first eight games at home before visiting No. 14 Kansas on Dec. 10.

They finished 46 of 68 from the field for 68 percent, hit half of their 10 3-point attempts and were 10 of 17 at the line.

Ohio State led by 13 at the half after shooting 70 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Sullinger then scored on three easy baskets inside to open the second half and the Buckeyes later went on a 23-3 run to put the game out of reach.

Coach Thad Matta went to his bench for most of the last 12 minutes.

The Buckeyes hit 23 of 33 shots from the field in taking a 57-44 halftime lead.

They led by 20 at the 11:47 mark after a pull-up jumper by freshman Sam Thompson, capping runs of 20-3 and 15-1.

Buford was 7 of 10 at the break including hitting his only 3-pointer and only free throw.

Craft was a wrecking ball at both ends, seemingly getting a hand on a dozen passes at the defensive end while credited with only two steals. But he had seven assists in the opening 20 minutes, including six in the first 6:25.

Gabriel had 16 for the Keydets, coming alive late in the half after a slow start. Burks chipped in with 11.

They drew as close as 52-43 on Burks’ 3-pointer at the 1:29 mark.

Ohio State has won all three meetings with the Keydets, all at home.