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Buford, Sullinger pace Buckeyes past Gators

Nov 16, 2011 - 5:43 AM Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - William Buford scored 21 points, Jared Sullinger had 16 and No. 3 Ohio State beat No. 7 Florida, 81-74, on Tuesday.

Deshaun Thomas added 15 points and Aaron Craft chipped in 13 for the Buckeyes (2-0), who forced 16 turnovers and extended their home winning streak to 24 games.

Bradley Beal scored 17 points and Kenny Boynton had 15, but the Gators (1-1) remained winless all-time against top-three opponents in true road games.

Florida led by as many as eight points early in the first half, but trailed for the final 21 minutes and 46 seconds of the game after routing Jacksonville State by 40 in its season-opener on Friday.

Ohio State, which opened with a 31-point victory over Wright State on Friday, hasn't lost a home game since February 17, 2010, against Purdue.

The Buckeyes recovered from an early 14-6 hole with a 10-3 run to get close, then took the lead for good on a Sullinger jumper with 1:46 remaining in the first half.

They carried a 35-32 edge into the locker room and opened the second half with a 15-6 surge, taking a 12-point lead on Evan Ravenel's jumper inside 14 minutes.

"They knocked us early...but I thought our guys did a nice job of remaining calm and weathering the storm," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said.

The Ohio State lead grew as high as 16 on several occasions, the first time when Buford's three made it 62-46 with about eight minutes remaining.

Florida cut it to single digits with a 9-2 spurt and later pulled as close as five, but there were only 18 seconds remaining.

"We couldn't sustain enough defensive stops over a period of time," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said.

Game Notes

Ohio State holds an 8-4 advantage in the all-time series....Both teams are defending conference champions, with the Gators winning the SEC and the Buckeyes capturing the Big Ten last season...Ohio State's first four games are part of the Global Sports Shootout...Florida has six wins over top-three teams in program history, with one coming at home and five in neutral-site contests.