Nov. 20, 2006

Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – San Francisco coach Jessie Evans looked at the boxscore from his team’s 82-60 loss to No. 4 Ohio State on Monday night and shook his head.

As impressed as he was with the Buckeyes, he said he could see a looming problem for them.

“They’ve still got another guy to add,” he said. “He may mess up their chemistry.”

Evans was joking about how good Ohio State could be once it gets heralded big man Greg Oden, sidelined with an injury.

Without him, the Buckeyes are plenty imposing.

Mike Conley Jr. and Jamar Butler combined for 16 assists with just two turnovers, and Daequan Cook added 20 points off the bench to lead the Buckeyes, who didn’t even need the 7-foot Oden to outrebound the Dons 46-31.

“I don’t know – was Oden out there today?” Evans cracked. “We couldn’t seem to get anything inside.”

Cook shot 8-of-11 from the field to match his average for points. Ron Lewis added 15 points and Conley scored 12.

Conley, a freshman, added nine assists and six rebounds with two turnovers. He now has 33 assists and 12 turnovers this season while directing the Buckeyes’ offense. His partner in the backcourt, Butler, had seven assists without a turnover. Othello Hunter added nine points and 10 rebounds.

“We’re trying to get those guys to understand that we’re a little different team than the last two years here,” coach Thad Matta said. “We’ve got some depth. We’re trying to get guys to understand their roles.”

Armando Surratt scored 15 points and Antonio Kellogg and Manny Quezada had 11 apiece for the Dons (2-2). Jay Watkins added 10 rebounds.

The loudest roar of the night came midway through the second half on Butler’s crisp alley-oop pass from near midcourt that Cook controlled with one hand over defender Jesse Byrd for a dunk that put the Buckeyes ahead 54-38.

“That’s what I was doing, just getting the crowd going,” Cook said.

Conley controlled the tempo in the first half by setting up his teammates for easy baskets. In addition, he did some scoring on his own as the Buckeyes solidified their lead.

“It was more running the offense and taking whatever they give me at the time,” said Conley, the son of the 1992 U.S. Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump. “I try to get the shots I am comfortable taking.”

The Buckeyes – shorter, thinner and less experienced – dominated the boards 22-11 in the opening half to take a 45-29 lead. The Dons had seven players at least 6-8, while Ohio State had two.

Ohio State led 24-21 before pulling away with a 14-2 run. Conley triggered it with a spinning, reverse layup off a fast-break assist from Butler, who followed with a 3-pointer from the left wing – off an assist from Conley.

Cook then hit the first of his two baskets during the surge before Conley hit a layup off a backdoor lob from Butler and was fouled, adding the free throw to push the lead to 34-21. After Quezada broke the 10-0 run with a short pull-up jumper, Cook scored on a drive and Conley assisted on a wraparound pass for Matt Terwilliger’s layup.

“We did a lot of pick and rolls and they went under the ball screen and coach told me to beat my man,” said Conley, who had 10 points and five assists at the break.

Ohio State maintained a double-digit lead before turning the game into a rout with a 22-3 run midway through the second half.

Oden is still recovering from surgery to reattach a ligament in his right wrist this summer and is not expected to get into games for several more weeks. He is practicing with the team while wearing a brace on his wrist.

The Buckeyes take on No. 2 North Carolina on Nov. 29 in Chapel Hill – their first real test of the season.

“That’s going to be a challenge,” Butler said. “But if we keep playing within our system I think we’ll be fine.”