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Oden, Ohio State survive first test in Big Ten

Jan 3, 2007 - 7:52 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Greg Oden and Ohio State proved that they are up to the challenge that is the Big Ten Conference.

Oden scored 21 points and fellow freshman Daequan Cook added 12 as sixth-ranked Ohio State claimed a 74-67 victory over Indiana in the conference opener for both schools.

Improving to 52-41 all-time in Big Ten openers, the Buckeyes are now 39-3 at Value City Arena under third-year coach Thad Matta.

"It says a lot about these young guys about how well they listen and respond to coaching," said Matta about the team's first league game. "We watched a lot of film this week of Indiana and how they cut and things like that."

Not everything did go right for the Buckeyes (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten) and their talented freshman, as Oden was bothered by foul problems and managed just five rebounds.

The 7-1 center was sent to the bench after being whistled for his fourth foul with 6:13 left in the second half and Ohio State nursing a 58-55. Although the Hoosiers' Earl Calloway sliced that deficit to one with the ensuing free throws, the Buckeyes threw together a 9-3 run, going ahead, 67-60, with 3:12 left.

"They are a very good physical team," Oden said of Indiana. "They made a lot of plays but my teammates did a great job of helping me out."

Cook added his second 3-pointer of the game more than a minute later and Oden converted all four of his free throws in the closing 1:19 to seal Ohio State's 11th home win in as many games.

Still shooting free throws lefthanded because of his wrist injury, Oden went 9-of-10 from the stripe.

"It says a lot about him that he can come in and shoot with his left hand," Matta said. "I don't know of too many other people in the country that can shoot that well with his right and his left."

Reserve center Othello Hunter scored 14 points and Ron Lewis 10 for the Buckeyes, who held a 32-14 advantage in points in the paint and 31-25 edge on the boards.

"Thad has a good plan," Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. "They were able to withstand the pressure. After we attacked, we were able to get pretty good looks, but Ohio State has a lot of ways they can win."

Joey Shaw scored 16 points off the bench and Calloway chipped in 13 for Indiana (9-4, 0-1), who had a four-game winning streak snapped despite 12-of-22 (54.5 percent) shooting from 3-point range.