COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - One team was tired, the other was in a hurry.
Deshaun Thomas scored 17 points and five teammates also hit double figures to lead No. 2 Ohio State past weary Oakland 92-63 on Thursday night, giving coach Thad Matta his best start in his seven years with the Buckeyes.
``Let's make this quick. I've got to go Christmas shopping,' Matta joked at the outset of his postgame comments.
His latest team eclipsed the 11-0 mark by Matta's second Ohio State team in 2005-6, on the way to a 26-6 mark.
Freshman Jared Sullinger had 16 points, Jon Diebler and David Lighty 13 each and Aaron Craft and William Buford 12 apiece for the Buckeyes (12-0). Craft's point total was a career high and he added seven assists.
``They're a good team; a really good team,' Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. ``I know. I've seen some good teams; we've played against enough of them.'
It was just another top opponent for Oakland, Mich., which has also played road games at West Virginia, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State and Michigan. The Golden Grizzlies upset then-No. 7 Tennessee 89-82 on Dec. 14 - the program's only victory against a top 10 team - and has played four games in the last six days and five in the last 10.
Travis Bader had 17 points and Larry Wright added 12 for the Golden Grizzlies (7-8), who were outscored 55-35 in the second half. Keith Benson, averaging 17.4 points a game, fouled out with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Leading by nine points at halftime, the Buckeyes scored 11 of the first 14 points in the second half. Five players scored, with Lighty, making his 100th career start, hitting a 3-pointer and Sullinger, Dallas Lauderdale, Buford and Craft each adding a basket.
``We just weren't making shots today,' Lighty said of the Buckeyes, who shot 47 percent for the game. ``We were getting a lot of good looks but they just weren't falling for us. When that happens you just have to find ways to put it in the basket. Whether it's getting fouled, penetrating, getting transition points or whatever it may be.'
Down as many as 17 points, the Golden Grizzlies got as close as 50-40 on Benson's flip over his shoulder at the 13:53 mark before Ohio State pulled away by scoring the next 10 points. Again, the Buckeyes showed their balance, with five players scoring. Diebler hit a shot behind the arc while Lauderdale, Buford and Thomas each had two points and Craft added a free throw to push the lead to 60-40 with 10:56 remaining.
``You could point to every player who got into the game and they made a big play,' Matta said.
Sullinger had scored 40 and Lighty and Diebler each had 29 in separate games over the past two weeks. In this game, no one dominated but almost everyone contributed.
``That's nice to see,' Diebler said. ``Especially on a night like this, we played pretty good defense. There were times we struggled offensively, but we had a night where I was hitting, Dave was hitting, Sully was hitting shots. It's nice because it's hard to defend us when we have six guys in double figures.'
Defense was one of the big keys. Oakland was forced into 20 turnovers to the Buckeyes' five, and the Golden Grizzlies shot just 38 percent for the game.
Kampe declined to use his team's rigorous schedule as an excuse, but he said it was definitely a factor.
``We couldn't go by them. And we couldn't go by them from the start because we're dead,' he said. ``I've got very athletic guards and we've gone by some very good teams and we score a lot of points. But we just couldn't go by them. Part of that is we're dead, but a lot of it was they were really good defensively.'
Ohio State improved to 252-56 when ranked in the top 10, winning 43 of its last 45 games. The Buckeyes are 89-17 in non-conference games under Matta.
The Golden Grizzlies came in averaging 82 points a game.
``I felt like we were putting some pretty good heat on them,' Matta said of his defense. ``We were able to get stops and get out and we got a couple of easy buckets on them.'
The Associated Press News Service
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