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Freshmen lead Ohio State to rout of San Francisco

Nov 21, 2006 - 2:54 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- There's a reason Ohio State had the top-rated recruiting class and it goes beyond Greg Oden.

Freshman Daequan Cook scored 20 points and keyed a game-breaking spurt to lead the third-ranked Buckeyes to an 82-60 rout of San Francisco.

A 6-5 guard, Cook scored eight straight points to trigger a 15-0 run in the second half that gave Ohio State a 64-38 lead with 12:23 to play.

"Most of the time I just look for opportunities to score and take advantage of them," Cook said. "Coach tells us not to force them and to take things within the flow of the game.

During his personal 8-0 spurt, Cook sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a thunderous slam off an alley-oop pass from Jamar Butler.

"I'm used to dunks like that," said Cook, who scored at least 20 points for the third time this season. "In high school it's all about getting the crowd going and plays like that get the crowd going."

Cook and classmate Mike Conley got the Buckeyes going in the first half, leading a 10-0 run to push the lead into double digits for good, 34-21, with 5:01 to go.

That followed an 11-0 first-half run led by Cook and classmate Mike Conley, a high school teammate of Oden, who is out until January after wrist surgery.

A high school teammate of Oden, who is out until January due wrist surgery, Conley had an outstanding opening 20 minutes. He scored 10 of his 12 points to go along with four assists and four rebounds in leading the Buckeyes (5-0) to a 45-29 lead.

Coach Thad Motta has elected to pair Conley with Butler, giving Ohio State two point guards on the floor.

"Jamar, his first two years here, had close to a three-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio," Motta said. "The thing we felt with Mike Conley is that he was a very good decision maker and that would be advantageous for us to have two guys out there who can make plays."

Ron Lewis scored 15 points and Othello Hunter added nine and 10 rebounds to help the Buckeyes to a 46-31 advantage on the backboards.

"Was Oden out there today?" Dons coach Jessie Evans said. "We couldn't seem to get anything inside. ... As a result we started missing our perimeter shots.

"They're a good basketball team. Coach (Matta) is doing a great job getting those guys ready. It's not an easy thing to do. And they still have one to add. Maybe Oden will mess up their chemistry."

Armondo Surratt scored 15 points - 13 in the first half - for the Dons (2-2), who shot 40 (23-of-57).

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