That the Ohio State Buckeyes mercilessly pounded yet another opponent from start to finish on Tuesday night to improve to 7-0 was nothing new. The difference is that their opponent was not the Jackson State Tigers, North Florida Ospreys, VMI Keydets or Valparaiso Crusaders. Instead, the opponent was the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils -- but the outcome was not all that different from the dominant wins Ohio State has posted in recent weeks.
Ohio State crushed Duke 85-63 and led from start to finish in the most hyped game of the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Monday night in Columbus.
Sophomore forward Jared Sullinger further solidified his status as one of the top players in the country with 21 points and 8 rebounds, but he was just one of a number of Buckeyes who had their way with the Blue Devils. Fellow sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas had one of the finest games of his collegiate career scoring 21 points on 8-12 shooting. For good measure, he made 2-4 three pointers and did not commit a turnover. The backcourt was just as good as the frontcourt, as William Buford finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while Aaron Craft put up 17 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists.
Ohio State started the game on an 11-0 run, and while Duke recovered to draw within 13-12, the Buckeyes easily answered every run until the Blue Devils ran out of runs.
In addition to not having any defensive answer to Ohio State, Duke's offense also sputtered. While Ohio State sank 8-14 from outside, Duke's previously devastating three point marksmanship deserted them at the most inopportune time, as they made just 3-15 on the night.
Freshman guard Austin Rivers had another strong game for Duke, finishing with 22 points, and forward Mason Plumlee added 16 points and 8 rebounds, but they received little help against the balanced Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes improve to 7-0 with the win, and they next host the Texas Pan-American Broncs on Saturday. But the road gets rough again shortly thereafter, as Ohio State plays at Kansas on Dec. 10.