Tenn.-Martin no match for OSU

Associated Press


Lucky for Ohio State coach Thad Matta that he didn’t have to predict how good his team would be so far this season.

“If you would have put a gun to my head before the season started — 13-0, yes or no? — I don’t know if I could have told you that we [would],” he said Monday night after the second-ranked Buckeyes romped to a 100-40 victory over Tennessee-Martin.

William Buford scored the first seven points of the game and came out of an offensive funk to finish with 23 as the Buckeyes tuned up for their Big Ten opener on New Year’s Eve at Indiana.

“I’m glad we went 13-0 in the non-conference,” Buford said after hitting 9 of 11 shots from the field, including 3 of 5 3-pointers, and adding five assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes. “We just want to stay hungry and get ready for the Big Ten.”

Deshaun Thomas added 20 points, Jared Sullinger had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and David Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale scored 10 points apiece for the Buckeyes (13-0), one of eight remaining Division I unbeatens. They are off to the fourth-best start in the program’s 112 seasons.

It was the ninth-biggest victory margin in Ohio State history.

Ohio State took a 12-0 lead after the opening three minutes, then scored the first 18 points of the second half.

Reuben Clayton had 13 points for the Skyhawks (4-9), coming off a 4-25 mark a year ago and picked to finish last in the Ohio Valley Conference this season.

The Skyhawks hit just 17 of 63 shots from the field (27 percent) while the Buckeyes were 41 of 70 (59 percent). Ohio State also had a 49-28 edge on the boards and forced 19 turnovers while committing just nine.

“I thought we’d play a little better,” coach Jason James said. “Obviously, they’re as good as they get in the whole country. I thought we’d come out and compete a little bit better. I don’t think you ever expect to get beat by 60.”

UT Martin fell to 0-9 against the Big Ten and 0-2 against Ohio State.