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Thomas pours in 31 as Ohio State routs Loyola-Maryland

Mar 16, 2012 - 5:50 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Deshaun Thomas poured in a career-high 31 points and ripped down 12 rebounds as second-seeded Ohio State took care of business against 15th-seeded Loyola-Maryland, 78-59, in a second round East Regional matchup.

William Buford scored 17 points and Jared Sullinger added 12 points and 11 rebounds for Ohio State (28-7), while Aaron Craft donated eight points and five rebounds in the victory.

Ohio State will next face seventh-seed Gonzaga, who routed West Virginia earlier on Thursday, in third-round action on Saturday.

"Well, obviously this tournament is about advancing, and that's what we did tonight," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. "We shot the ball great in the second half, but our turnovers were detrimental to the flow of our offense. We got to get ourselves ready to go. Obviously with what Gonzaga did tonight, we got another great challenge on Saturday."

Erik Etherly paced the Greyhounds (24-9) with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Dylan Cormier added 14 points in defeat.

Loyola-Maryland scored five of the first six points of the game to jump out to a very early lead, but it was short-lived as the powerful Buckeyes roared back with a 19-6 run to take a comfortable 20-11 lead with less than 12 minutes to go in the opening half.

A Justin Drummond layup pulled the Greyhounds within 22-16, but free throws from Craft and Thomas, followed by a trey from Thomas and a slam by Sullinger extended the Ohio State advantage to 31-20 with less than eight minutes to play in the half.

The Buckeyes led by a comfortable 42-31 margin at halftime.

Ohio State scored the first six points of the second stanza to extend the lead to 48-31.

Loyola-Maryland used a small 7-2 push to cut the Buckeyes' lead to 12, but Ohio State came back with a 7-0 run of its own to build the lead back to 57-40 with less than 12 minutes to play.

The Buckeye margin hit the 20-point threshold with 5:35 to go and they led by double-digits the rest of the way.

After shooting 34 percent in the first half, the Buckeyes picked it up in the final 20 minutes, shooting nearly 61 percent from the floor.

"I thought we played really hard, which is what we do at Loyola University," Greyhounds head coach Jimmy Patsos said. "I'm proud of my kids for playing. The MAAC had two teams going to the NCAA. We're not growing just as a program, but I think the league is growing. To play Ohio State, one of the best teams in the country, you're not going to win that game without having everything go right. We didn't have everything go right."

Game Notes

This is the fourth-consecutive season Ohio State has participated in the NCAA Tournament, and marked the third consecutive season that the Buckeyes have won its first game in the tournament...Ohio State is now 42-22 all-time in NCAA Tournament play...The Buckeyes shot 44.8 percent overall, while the Greyhounds shot 35 percent from the floor and just 4-of-14 from three-point range.