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January 25, 2012

Ohio State steamrolls Penn State 78-54

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - When a 35-foot attempted alley-oop pass from Aaron Craft went in for a three point bucket it was just a microcosm of what the Buckeyes did to Penn State on Wednesday night. Jared Sullinger went for 20 points and 13 rebounds and Ohio State (18-3, 6-2) never saw this game in doubt with a 78-54 win over Penn State (10-12, 2-7).

The win keeps Ohio State in a tie for the tops of the Big Ten race and sets up a huge game on Sunday afternoon against co-leader Michigan who is also 6-2 in the league.

"Michigan is ranked in the top 25 this year," Sullinger said. "They're growing into a league program. You always have to get up for Michigan. For every sport at Ohio State, when we play Michigan it's always a rivalry."

William Buford had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Buckeyes while Craft had 11 points. J.D. Weatherspoon was Ohio State's scoring leader off of the bench with eight points.

Penn State was led with 16 points by Tim Frazier but the leading scorer in the Big Ten was limited to 6-17 shooting from the field and saw most of his points come late in the game when the contest was already out-of-hand. Pen State got 14 points from Jermaine Marshall and 10 from Cammeron Woodyard.

"We have been struggling scoring on the road," Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers said.

The Buckeyes got of to a quick start and ran up a 19-4 lead to start the game and led by as many as 23 points in the first half with the aforementioned Craft three pointer.

"I got pretty lucky," Craft joked after the game. "For the record, I would much rather have had Sam Thompson catch it and dunk it. I think people get more excited about that. But I'll take what I can get."

Ohio State shot 50-pecent from the field in the first half and 60-percent from distance in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Buckeyes would hold Penn State to 22-percent shooting from the field in the first half and 31-percent overall. The big three of Marshall, Frazier and Woodyard would combine for 15 of 44 from the field.

The Buckeyes would continue to pour it on in the second half and would get the lead up to 29 points around the midway mark of the half before subbing most of the starters out and coasting to their sixth win in the Big Ten this season. Despite Penn State's 2-7 record in the league the Nittany Lions do have big wins against Illinois and Purdue.

"We knew Penn State would play hard and physical," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. "We knew we had to match that and go beyond in order to win. The team did a pretty decent job of that tonight."

In Ohio State's six league wins the closest the margin of victory has been 17 points and the average margin of victory has been 28 points. Conversely the two Ohio State conference losses have been by four and five points respectively.

"Every team we play is a great team," Craft said. "There's no off night in the Big Ten and Penn State is no exception. Now we are focused on Michigan. March is a long way off and there's a lot of time for us to get better."

Ohio State has never lost at Value City Arena to Penn State (9-0 overall) and now hold a 28-12 edge against Penn State all-time.

The Buckeyes will be back in action on Sunday afternoon at home against Michigan in a nationally televised game. If you don't have a ticket, it will cost you because the game has already been declared a sellout.



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