for this game

Without Sullinger, Buckeyes fall to Kansas

Dec 11, 2011 - 12:24 AM Lawrence, KS (Sports Network) - Thomas Robinson scored 21 points, including a pair of dunks in the second half that helped No. 13 Kansas beat shorthanded No. 2 Ohio State, 78-67, on Saturday.

Star sophomore Jared Sullinger missed his second straight game for Ohio State because of back spasms despite trying to convince his coaches he could play.

"I'm never going to jeopardize one of my players' futures," said Ohio State head coach Thad Matta.

Robinson and the Jayhawks still needed to hold of a potent Buckeyes team that had beaten its first eight opponents by an average of almost 30 points.

And they will need to play the foreseeable future without guard Tyshawn Taylor, who will have surgery Sunday to repair a torn meniscus.

Elijah Johnson added 15 points, Kevin Young scored 14 and Travis Releford had 10 for Kansas (7-2), which extended its streak to 47 straight non-conference home wins.

William Buford scored 21 points for Ohio State (8-1) and Deshaun Thomas had 19, but the Buckeyes missed their star forward in their first road game of the season.

Sullinger was in street clothes on the sideline after attempting to warm up with the team. He missed the first game of his college career last Saturday, but Ohio State had no trouble with Texas-Pan American in an easy 64-35 win.

Robinson was excited to play Sullinger, but downplayed the disappointment of fans not getting to see them match up against each other.

"What it all comes down to is Kansas versus Ohio State," said Robinson. "It's not Thomas Robinson versus Jared Sullinger. I know it would have been fun for everybody to watch, but it comes down to my team versus their team."

Taylor played 35 minutes, scoring nine points with 13 assists despite injuring his knee in practice before Tuesday's 88-80 win over Long Beach State.

"He could have had surgery last Tuesday. He said there was no way he was going to miss these two games, so he's going to have surgery tomorrow," said Kansas coach Bill Self, who thought Taylor could be back sooner than two or three weeks "if everything goes perfect."

"I can get on Tyshawn for turning it over. I can get onto him for not making some plays, which I think is conducive to being an extension of the head coach, but I can't get on him for toughness," said Self.

"He's been hurt, and he goes out there and gives his body up. We don't beat Long Beach State without him, and we certainly don't win this game without him."

Kansas opened the game with a 9-2 run and led by as many as 10 points on the way to a 35-29 margin at halftime.

The Jayhawks used a 9-2 run early in the second half to restore their 10-point advantage, then took their largest lead of the game on Robinson's dunk with 12:02 remaining.

The one-handed jam from the left side made it 52-40, and Robinson threw down another dunk moments later to keep the Kansas lead in double-digits at 54-44.

Without Sullinger, who averages 19.1 points per game, the Buckeyes rallied to within four points on a Thomas jumper that made it 62-58 with 5 1/2 minutes left.

But Releford scored the next four points, doubling the Kansas lead, and Ohio State was never closer than five the rest of the way.

The Buckeyes were the highest-ranked team to visit Allen Fieldhouse since No. 1 Arizona defeated Kansas, 91-74, on January 25, 2003. But they were the second No. 2 team Kansas played this season.

The Jayhawks lost to then-No. 2 Kentucky, 75-65, on November 15. They have won four straight now since suffering their second loss of the season to Duke.

Game Notes

Kansas shot 58.3 percent from the floor, including 65.2 percent in the first half. Ohio State shot 38.7 percent...The Buckeyes fell to 36-9 all-time as the second-ranked team in the AP poll.