COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes have now run through the non-conference schedule without hardly breaking a sweat. Monday night saw a dominating performance by the Buckeyes as William Buford led the way for Ohio State with 23 points and five assists and four rebounds while Jared Sullinger chipped in 18 points and 11 boards as well for the Buckeyes as the home team rolled all over Tennessee-Martin 100-40 to improve to 13-0 on the season.
DeShaun Thomas had 20 points and nine rebounds while both Dallas Lauderdale and David Lighty finished with double figures as well (ten apiece).
The last time the Buckeyes started off a season hotter than this was in the 1990-91 season when the team opened up 17-0 before dropping a game in East Lansing (Mich.) to Michigan State and finishing off the season 27-4 and lost to St. John's in the regional semifinal. The goals are much higher this year but nobody is focusing any further than the next game on the schedule.
Things will get significantly more difficult when the Big Ten season opens up but Monday's game was a final chance for head coach Thad Matta to play with lineups and get everyone on the team minutes. In the 2009-10 season the Buckeyes had a short bench and that is something that Matta is hoping not to have to deal with in the conference schedule.
The Buckeyes came out on fire and shot 56-percent in the first half as Buford had 16 to lead all scorers in the first 20 minutes. UT-Martin by comparison only had 17 points at the same timeframe. Ohio State ended up shooting 59-percent on the evening while UT-Martin did improve to finish at 27-percent for the game. Ohio State held a major advantage on the glass as well with a 49 to 28 edge.
Reuben Clayton led the way with 13 points for UT-Martin as nobody else ended up in double figures. Offense was sparse for the road team and the outside shot was not there with UT-Martin ending up with 4-25 from outside the arc (16-percent).
Now Ohio State will turn its attention to the conference schedule and will play its first two games on the road against Indiana and Iowa. Neither team has had much success this season but with six freshmen on the team the first Big Ten road trip will be a new experience and Matta won't let his team get ahead of itself.
The Buckeyes' next home game will be on January 9th against Minnesota but a game time has not been announced as of yet.