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Ohio State thumps Michigan to reach Big Ten final

Mar 11, 2012 - 1:55 AM Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Jared Sullinger scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed six rebounds as No. 7 Ohio State dominated No. 10 Michigan, 77-55, in a Big Ten Tournament semifinal.

Deshaun Thomas had 22 points and six boards and William Buford netted 10 points for the third-seeded Buckeyes (27-6), who advanced to the conference title game for the fourth consecutive season.

They will attempt to take home their third straight Big Ten championship when they face off against top-seeded and No. 8 Michigan State on Sunday.

Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan all tied for the regular season title, but now two will get to settle the tournament winner.

"We had to share it for the regular season," said Buford, "[Sunday] solidifies who's going to take it home for themselves."

Tim Hardaway Jr. paced the second-seeded Wolverines (24-9) with 13 points, but made just three of his 10 attempts from the floor. Zack Novak posted a 10- point performance in defeat.

"We had a lack in size. A lot of teams are taller and more athletic than us," said Hardaway. "We have to do a better job winning battles on defense."

Ohio State opened the contest on a 16-3 spurt and never looked back, never allowing Michigan to take the lead while holding the Wolverines to 30.9 percent (17-of-55) field goal shooting.

The Buckeyes shot 49.2 percent (31-of-63) from the field and bested Michigan in most other statistical categories as well, including three-point shooting (35.7 percent to 16 percent), turnovers (11 to 18), steals (11 to 6), and blocked shots (seven to two).

Ohio State held a 34-21 advantage at intermission, and led by as many as 28 points late in the second half.

Game Notes

Ohio State has won five of the last six matchups between these programs...Michigan made just four of 25 three-point attempts...Ohio State outscored Michigan 40-24 in the paint and 17-10 off turnovers...The programs split the regular-season series 1-1. The Buckeyes won a 64-49 rout on January 29. Michigan enacted revenge with a 56-51 decision on February 18.