NCAA BK

No. 3 Ohio St beats North Florida, 85-50

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)

The box score won't tell the whole story for the North Florida Ospreys.

Sure, preseason All-American Jared Sullinger had 27 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 3 Ohio State roared to a big first-half lead to beat North Florida 85-50 on Monday night.

But it was harder than expected for the Buckeyes (4-0).

''This basketball team on the floor is pretty good,'' Sullinger said of the Ospreys. ''They're very disciplined and they know how to score. Their bigs were posting up well and also their offense was clicking. They did the same thing to Alabama and the same thing to Miami. It wasn't a surprise. We knew they were going to come out ready to play.''

Deshaun Thomas added 16 points and William Buford 13 for Ohio State, which ran its home winning streak to 26 in a row.

But the Ospreys hung tough. They trailed just 17-14 midway through the first half before the Buckeyes spurted away to take a 45-26 halftime lead.

''Our guys just compete,'' coach Matthew Driscoll said. ''Our guys understand. They compete. When the day's done and you're worn down and the (other) guys are bigger, stronger, faster, they can separate themselves. They did that.''

After Ohio State scored 15 of the first 17 points in the second half, it appeared the rout was on. But before it was over, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta reinserted his starting five because he was unhappy with the subs play and the lead had dwindled to 61-40.

''I was hoping he wasn't (bringing the starters back),'' Driscoll said with a laugh. ''I told our guys ... just keep on competing. We made some stops and got some plays and the next thing, Thad, who's a friend, he put those other jokers back in.''

Parker Smith had 10 points for North Florida (1-4), which has lost on the road to heavyweights Alabama, Florida, Miami and the Buckeyes. The Ospreys dropped to 0-11 against ranked teams.

''As I've said all along, we've got a long way to go,'' Matta said. ''Watching North Florida in the games they've played against the Alabamas, Floridas and Miamis, I think they've got a heck of a basketball team and a chance to win a lot of games.''

The game was part of the Global Sports Shootout.

In their only previous meeting with a Big Ten team, the Ospreys lost at No. 19 Purdue 77-57 a year ago.

The Buckeyes have won 99 of their past 100 games against unranked opponents in Columbus and are 12-0 against members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap .

Tagged: Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Ohio, North Florida

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