Valparaiso vs Ohio State

Buford, No. 3 Buckeyes rout Valparaiso wire reports

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jared Sullinger blamed it on too much turkey. Whatever the reason, No. 3 Ohio State shook off its slow start with a dizzying display at the beginning of the second half.

William Buford scored 17 of his 25 points after the break, and the Buckeyes routed Valparaiso 80-47 on Friday night.

Aaron Craft added 15 points and eight assists for the Buckeyes (6-0), who tuned up for a big home showdown against No. 6 Duke on Tuesday. Sullinger had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Deshaun Thomas added 12 points.

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Buford had four points in Ohio State's 19-2 surge right after the break, and the crowd used the final minute to serenade Michigan with derisive cheers ahead of their football game on Saturday.

The quick burst to start the second half made the outcome a formality - and allowed the Buckeyes (6-0) to begin thinking about facing the Blue Devils in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

"From the standpoint of looking at a team like Duke, it draws back to our game with Florida," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta, referring to the Buckeyes' relatively easy 81-74 win over the Gators earlier this season. "It'll be a good challenge for us. Like the Florida game, we'll know a lot more about us after it."

Sullinger said he couldn't wait for much anticipated game against Duke, with Value City Arena already sold out.

"We know the team coming in here on Tuesday night," said Sullinger, who also had five assists against Valpo. "And we know the team we have coming in here on Tuesday night. It should be a good battle."

The game clearly tilted at the outset of the second half. The Buckeyes brought a four-point lead into the final 20 minutes, but they quickly asserted themselves at both ends of the floor.

"We played well for a stretch in the first half," Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said. "We didn't play a great 20 minutes, but I was optimistic we'd be able to play a good second half. Then we all saw Ohio State's ability to go on a quick run."

Sullinger had seven points -- including a crowd-pleasing 3 -- in the second-half surge, with Craft adding a 3 and a layup and Buford hitting two jumpers. Buford made six of his seven shots in the second half, including all three of his 3-point attempts.

"My teammates were able to get me the ball and were setting good screens for me," he said. "And I was able to knock them down today."

Jay Harris led the Crusaders (5-2) with 18 points. That was about the extent of the good news for Drew's team.

Kevin Van Wijk, a 6-foot-8 post from the Netherlands, came in averaging 17.8 points a game but was held scoreless with four fouls. No. 2 scorer Ryan Broekhoff was averaging 15.5 points and had just seven.

"We rushed a few things," Broekhoff said.

It all fell apart at the start of the second half.

The Crusaders had the ball first via alternate possession, but Craft came in out of nowhere to steal the ball out of Van Wijk's hands when he was about to score on a backdoor pass. Sullinger then popped out for a 15-foot jumper and the Buckeyes were off and running.

Lenzelle Smith Jr. hit a 15-footer, then assisted on a Buford layup before Buford passed inside to Sullinger for another bucket. After Broeckhoff hit a driving layup to break the ice for the Crusaders, Buford came off a screen to hit an 18-footer to make it 43-31. Sullinger drilled a 3 from the left elbow before Craft hit a fast-break layup and nailed a 3 from the right corner. Evan Ravenel's free throw ended the surge, putting the Buckeyes up 52-31.

The lead never dropped below 15 points again.

Ohio State has won 28 straight games at Value City Arena, matching the third-longest home streak at the school.

Sullinger was asked if the Buckeyes needed to make a lot of improvement for Duke.

"We need to just be better than we were tonight," he said.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
William Buford scores 17 of his game-high 25 points as Ohio State rolls past Valparaiso. (AP)
William Buford scores 17 of his game-high 25 points as Ohio State rolls past Valparaiso. (AP)
Valparaiso (5-2)291847
Ohio State #3 (6-0) «334780
VALPO:J. Harris 18 Pts
VALPO:R. Broekhoff 11 Reb
VALPO:E. Buggs 3 Ast
OHST:W. Buford 25 Pts
OHST:J. Sullinger 13 Reb
OHST:A. Craft 8 Ast

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ValparaisoOhio State
Jay Harris
Jared Sullinger
Valparaiso Crusaders
R. Broekhoff, G-F363-80-011217
M. Kenney, G291-30-04332
W. Bogan, G242-80-01206
E. Buggs, G241-30-03332
K. Van Wijk, F230-30-02040
J. Harris, G307-140-020318
H. Vucic, C163-101-23117
R. Edwards, F112-60-03015
T. Kurth, G70-10-00010
N. Shelton, GDid Not Play
B. Boggs, GDid Not Play
V. Fernandez, FDid Not Play
Totals 19-561-229111747
Ohio State Buckeyes
W. Buford, G379-163-551025
A. Craft, G375-104-638115
J. Sullinger, F356-101-3135414
D. Thomas, F275-122-221212
L. Smith Jr., G243-60-15516
J. Sibert, G140-20-00110
E. Ravenel, F112-31-25025
S. Thompson, F51-10-01102
J. Weatherspoon, F30-01-20001
S. Scott, G30-00-01100
A. Williams, C20-00-00000
T. McDonald, CDid Not Play
A. Rogers, GDid Not Play
Totals 31-6012-2135231180
Horizon League
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Kentucky12-624-1187
Green Bay12-618-14158
Wright St.11-720-12115
Youngstown St.5-1313-21252
Clev. St.5-139-22260

Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Michigan St.10-820-1550
Ohio St.7-1117-1590
Penn St.6-1215-18101
Other games
UCF 68 Final
UConn 63
HARV 46 Final
Florida St 41
Stanford 63 Final
Syracuse 69
Ohio 54 Final
Louisville 59
PITT 78 Final
Penn 58
Jville 62 Final
Florida 107
Georgia 56 Final
XAV 70
UTMA 50 Final
Miss St 76
Wisc 66 Final
Monmth 73 Final
SC 62 Final
NC 87