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Buckeyes handle Spartans, Sullinger solid in return

Dec 15, 2011 - 6:53 AM Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Ohio State sophomore forward Jared Sullinger recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds in his return to the lineup, helping the second-ranked Buckeyes handle the USC Upstate Spartans, 82-58.

Sullinger, who had missed the last two games with back spasms, came off the bench Wednesday.

"I was tired," said Sullinger. "Two weeks off is a killer. I did a lot of work on the treadmill these last few days, but I was still very out of shape tonight."

Deshaun Thomas had 23 points to pace the Buckeyes (9-1), who bounced back from a 78-67 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence on Saturday. William Buford donated 14 points.

Ohio State has won 31 consecutive games at Value City Arena.

Torrey Craig ended with 20 points and six rebounds for the Spartans (6-5), who have lost three in a row.

"We're from a school called the University of South Carolina Upstate. We have a recognition problem," said Spartans coach Eddie Payne. "A Dayton writer referred to us as an 'intramural team.' I don't think we are. We're not as good as Ohio State. We're freshmen and sophomores, but we'll get better in time."

With the game tied at 5-5, Thomas recorded a three-point play and made a jumper. Buford added a layup to cap a 7-0 spurt and make it a 12-5 contest just five minutes into the game.

The Spartans used an 11-1 run moments later to grab a 19-15 edge on a Craig free throw and three-pointer.

With the scored tied at 26-26, Sullinger sparked an 11-2 spurt with a slam. Buford made a three-pointer during the stretch, which Evan Ravenel capped with a dunk for a 37-28 margin at the break.

Ahead 49-40 with less than 13 1/2 minutes to play, Ohio State put together an 11-2 run to create some distance. Thomas made a shot from beyond the arc during the burst, which Sam Thompson capped with a dunk for a 60-42 margin.

Game Notes

Wednesday's game was the first-ever meeting between these two program...Ohio State is a perfect 13-0 against Atlantic Sun Conference members all-time...The Buckeyes are a perfect 9-0 at home this season...Ohio State shot 56.9 percent from the field.