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Buckeyes top Penn State for Big Ten crown

Mar 14, 2011 - 12:12 AM Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - William Buford led the way with 18 points and Jon Diebler finished with 15 points and six rebounds, as top-ranked Ohio State won the Big Ten Tournament title with a 71-60 decision over Penn State.

Freshman sensation Jared Sullinger posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards for No. 1 seeded Ohio State (32-2), which beat Minnesota in last year's Big Ten championship game. Diebler made 3-of-5 from three-point range.

The Buckeyes, who were playing in their fifth Big Ten title game in the last six seasons, earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Of course, as the top team in the country, they were going no matter what. And when the brackets were announced later Sunday, the Buckeyes gained the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAAs.

"It's something special," said Sullinger, "but at the same time we've still got a lot of work to do, so it doesn't stop here."

Talor Battle ended with a game-high 24 points for sixth-seeded Penn State (19-14), which had downed Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State to earn its first-ever appearance in the conference title game. Jeff Brooks was the only other player to score in double-figures, finishing with 19 points and six boards.

The consolation prize for Penn State's run was an at-large bid in the NCAAs -- the first time the Nittany Lions have made the tournament in 10 years. They got a No. 10 seed and will play another Pennsylvania school, No. 7 seed Temple, in the first game.

"I'm proud of our kids. We came in, we competed," said Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis. "We didn't play as well as we played last night (against Michigan State). We missed a lot of easy shots early. We weren't very crisp. And they're a very good team. Ohio State is a very good team, they guard you. They made some big shots."

Sullinger's jumper inside 11 minutes in the first half put Ohio State up 18-10, but Brooks hit a jumper and two makes at the stripe by Jermaine Marshall drew the Nittany Lions to within one, 22-21, with less than four minutes remaining before the break.

The Buckeyes held a slim lead the rest of the half and Diebler's triple prior to the buzzer put OSU ahead 29-23 heading into the locker room.

Diebler hit a three just over a minute into the second half that started a mini 7-2 Ohio State run. Buford's layup finished it off to give the top-ranked team in the country a 36-25 edge nearly four minutes in.

A short time later, the Buckeyes put some distance between themselves and the Lions as Sullinger made two from the line and Buford and Aaron Craft drained consecutive triples to make it a 46-29 game.

It was a double-digit lead from there for OSU until Penn State got to within eight in the final minute. But it was too little, too late for the upset- minded Nittany Lions.

Game Notes

Ohio State has won 16 consecutive games over Penn State, including three victories this year, to push the Buckeyes' advantage in the all-time series to 27-12...Craft and Lighty ended with nine and eight points, respectively, for OSU, which shot 51 percent from the floor and made 7-of-16 from three-point territory...Penn State made 39.3 percent of its shots and 7-of-18 from beyond the arc.