for this game

Oden, Ohio St. get ready for matchup with Florida

Dec 20, 2006 - 7:11 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Freshmen Daequan Cook and Greg Oden kept Ohio State sharp before a huge matchup.

Cook scored 21 points and Oden added 18 as the third-ranked Buckeyes extended an undefeated start at home with a 75-56 victory over Iowa State.

One of the top teams in the nation despite not having freshman sensation Oden for the first seven games of the season, Ohio State (10-1) will face its second top-10 opponent of the season when it travels to No. 4 Florida - the defending national champion - on Saturday.

"I hope I'm ready," said Oden about the upcoming matchup with Florida. "It is a really big game. We have got to come in and play hard. Even with Iowa State today, we have to realize that teams are going to bring it."

The Buckeyes absorbed their lone loss of the season in a 98-89 loss at then-No. 6 North Carolina on November 29, when they were without Oden.

Possibly looking forward to that matchup with the Gators, Ohio State missed five of its first eight shots and did not take its first lead until 9-8 on a jumper by Cook with 6 1/2 minutes expired.

"We just weren't where we needed to be mentally to start this basketball game," Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "With young men, it's hard to tell at times where their minds are. Obviously, that weighs in but I don't know. I think we had a war on our hands tonight."

"I think we controlled the tempo and executed well offensively in the beginning enough to give us a chance, but it wasn't quite enough," Iowa State coach Greg McDermott said.

Leading just 29-28 at intermission, Ohio State gained some separation early behind the aforementioned 7-footer, who had a layup and a dunk in the opening 1 1/2 minutes of the second half.

Oden, who entered the game with just two misses on 19 field-goal attempts, finished 8-of-15 from the floor and grabbed nine rebounds.

"I liked the shots he took tonight," Matta said. "Fifteen is his most all year. He missed a couple - news flash, he will miss a couple. I didn't see any shots where I said I wish he shouldn't have taken that shot."

"I thought we contained Greg Oden pretty well in the first half, but in the second half, to his credit, he used his size and strength inside," McDermott said.

Mike Conley Jr. added a three-point play to give the Buckeyes a 38-30 edge with 17:34 to play.

The Cyclones managed to cut the deficit to two points twice, including 53-51 on a 3-pointer by Cory Johnson with 7:19 left, but Cook answered back with a jumper and Conley had a layup off a turnover to make it 57-51 with 6:28 to play.

Ron Lewis added a 3-pointer less than a minute later, sparking an 18-3 run that closed out the contest.

"I hope our players learned something from this," McDermott said. "We were down two points with about seven minutes to go, but we lacked the discipline late and Ohio State took it. They had the ability to make plays at the end and our guys didn't."

Conley finished with 15 points and six assists and Ivan Harris added 10 for Ohio State, which shot 58 percent (15-of-26) from the floor in the second half.

Mike Taylor scored 24 points for Iowa State (7-5), which lost for the fifth time in six games.

    --- --- -----
    IOWA ST 28 28 56
    OHIO ST (3) 29 46 75 FINAL

    Dec 19 9:47 PM

    IOWA ST 28

    Dec 19 8:45 PM