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Buckeyes Use Big Second Half To Beat Gators 93-75


Freshman Jared Sullinger dominated inside with 26 points and 10 rebounds on 13-of-17 shooting, and fourth-ranked Ohio State pulled away late to notch a key road victory over ninth-ranked Florida, 93-75.

Sullinger, one of the top-billed first-year college players this year, highlighted the game with several emphatic dunks for Ohio State (2-0), which has beaten Florida twice since Greg Oden and the Buckeyes lost to Joakim Noah's and Al Horford's Gators in the 2007 NCAA Tournament championship game.

David Lighty made 9-of-11 shots for 26 points, and William Buford added 16 in the win. Jon Diebler had 14 for Ohio State.

Kenny Boynton made 5-of-8 from three-point range in a 21-point game for Florida (1-1), which opened up its season with a 77-60 victory over UNC- Wilmington. Erving Walker scored 15 points, while Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin had 13 and 12 points, respectively, in defeat.

Both teams shot remarkably well. Ohio State made 62.9 percent of its shots, while the Gators shot 61.2 percent from the field.

Florida held a 57-56 lead with 12 1/2 minutes to play in the game, but Ohio State put together a 13-3 run to take control.

Diebler quickly put OSU ahead with a three-pointer on the next possession, and Sullinger's dunk was followed by William Buford's layup for a 63-57 advantage.

After Boynton got Florida to within three on a trey, Sullinger got inside again for another dunk, and Lighty hit a jumper on the next touch. Sullinger capped the burst with his third slam for a 69-60 lead with just over nine minutes remaining.

Ohio State's lead reached double digits for the first time, 76-65, on Lighty's basket with a little more than six minutes to go, and Florida never got closer than nine down the stretch.

The first half featured runs from both teams.

Ohio State took the early lead, 14-9, following a Sullinger dunk, but Florida scored the next six points to take the lead on a Walker jumper just past the 12-minute mark.

The Gators eventually went up by seven, 25-18, following a Boynton three with nine minutes left, but the Buckeyes scored seven of the next nine points to cut their deficit to 27-25 following consecutive buckets by Buford.

Two jumpers from Macklin gave Florida a 39-32 edge with 3 1/2 minutes before halftime, but Sullinger and Diebler both scored in the final 1:15 to make it a 41-38 game at the break.

Sullinger hit a pair of shots to begin the second half and give Ohio State a one-point lead, and neither team led by more than three until the Buckeyes' run.

Ohio State leads the all-time series, 7-4...Buckeyes freshman forward Deshaun Thomas, who had a team-high 24 points in his first game, scored only two on Tuesday...Sullinger has totaled 45 points and 24 boards in his first two games.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.