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Oden, Butler lead Ohio State to 12th straight win

Feb 22, 2007 - 6:09 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Ohio State nearly was caught looking ahead.

Freshman sensation Greg Oden had 17 points and 14 rebounds as the top-ranked Buckeyes overcame an eight-point second-half deficit to win their 11th straight game, 68-60, over struggling Penn State in a Big Ten Conference contest.

Jamar Butler scored 18 points and was 4-of-6 from 3-point range for Ohio State (25-3, 13-1), which will take an 11-game conference win streak - its longest since 1971 - into Saturday's showdown here with No. 2 Wisconsin on Saturday. The Buckeyes last loss was to the Badgers in early January.

"I just remember we lost," Oden said about the first game against Wisconsin. "Tomorrow we have the day off and the coaches are going to work really hard to get us prepared. Come Friday, we are going to work as hard as we can. We don't look back. We just take this game as a new one."

Last Wednesday in State College, Ohio State nearly blew a 21-point halftime lead and survived a last-second 3-point attempt for a 64-62 victory over Penn State. This time it survived a patient offensive attack and some outstanding defense that limited the Buckeyes to 8-of-22 shooting in the opening half, including 1-of-8 from the arc.

"We made some tough shots in the first half," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "We executed our game plan. We played the tempo and pressured shots and used the shot clock and shortened the game, but we just came up short."

A layup by Danny Morrissey gave the Nittany Lions a 32-24 lead two minutes into the second half before the Buckeyes scored 12 straight. Oden opened the run with a layup, Ron Lewis added two free throws, Daequan Cook hit a 3-pointer and fellow freshman Michael Conley scored on a layup that gave Ohio State a 33-32 lead. Lewis capped the spurt with a three-pont play with 14:26 to play.

David Jackson knocked down a shot from the arc with 9:11 remaining as Penn State reclaimed a 43-40 edge, before Ohio State responded with a 22-7 burst, capped by a three-point play by Oden, who hammered home a two-handed dunk with 79 seconds left.

The 7-footer shot 6-of-9 from the floor, grabbed seven of the nine offensive rebounds for the Buckeyes and contributed three blocks.

"We have been stressing getting the ball inside, not just to me but down low to our big men," Oden said. "But, if the 3-point shots are open then they should take them. If my teammates are open on the perimeter they should shoot."

Butler started the spurt with a 3-pointer and added another shot from the arc among his eight points during the run. He finished 5-of-8 from the floor and Conley finished with 10 assists.

"The defense drew to Greg inside and left the perimeter open," Butler said. "I just set my feet and took shots. It was pretty big at the time but it came from Greg and the pressure he gets inside.

"We did not shoot well last time we played them. Their defense makes it tough to get the ball inside and we didn't hit shots. "We just stayed positive. We looked back at things and made some changes. We came out and played harder the second half.

The Buckeyes shot 42 percent (20-of-48) but held a 23-9 edge from the free-throw line.

Geary Claxton had 15 points and eight assists and Jackson finished with 14 points for the Nittany Lions (10-16, 1-12), who have lost 12 straight games after opening conference play with a victory over Northwestern on January 3.