2nd half costs Valpo in 80-47 loss to No. 3 OSU

No. 3 Ohio State 80, Valparaiso 47. With AP Photos.By RUSTY MILLERAP Sports Writer

All Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew could do was try to draw something positive out of a forgettable second half.

”There’s a lot of learning material in there,” he said after No. 3 Ohio State pulled away for an 80-47 victory on Friday night.

Down just 33-29 at the break, the Crusaders (5-2) couldn’t get anything going offensively, and they couldn’t stop the Buckeyes at the other end, either.

”I don’t think Ohio State did anything different,” said reserve Jay Harris, who led the Crusaders with 18 points. ”We just didn’t execute on defense.”

William Buford scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and Aaron Craft added 15 points and eight assists for the Buckeyes (6-0), who tuned up for a big home showdown against No. 6 Duke on Tuesday. Jared Sullinger had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Deshaun Thomas added 12 points.

Buford had four points in Ohio State’s 19-2 surge right after the break.

”We played well for a stretch in the first half,” Drew said. ”We didn’t play a great 20 minutes, but I was optimistic we’d be able to play a good second half. Then we all saw Ohio State’s ability to go on a quick run.”

Sullinger had seven points – including a crowd-pleasing 3 – in the second-half surge, with Craft adding a 3 and a layup and Buford hitting two jumpers. Buford made six of his seven shots in the second half, including all three of his 3-point attempts.

Valparaiso’s Kevin Van Wijk, a 6-foot-8 post from the Netherlands, came in averaging 17.8 points a game but was held scoreless with four fouls. No. 2 scorer Ryan Broekhoff was averaging 15.5 points and had just seven to go with 11 rebounds.

It all fell apart for the Crusaders at the start of the second half.

Drew’s team had the ball first via alternate possession, but Craft came in out of nowhere to steal the ball out of Van Wijk’s hands when he was about to score on a backdoor pass. Sullinger then popped out for a 15-foot jumper and the Buckeyes were off and running.

Valparaiso had 18 turnovers resulting in 24 Ohio State points. The Crusaders didn’t score a point off the Buckeyes’ six turnovers.

The 33.9 percent shooting from the field was Valpo’s worst of the season and its inside game was almost non-existent. The Crusaders had only two foul shots, compared to Ohio State’s 21 attempts.

There’s plenty to work on before a Dec. 3 game at Butler.

Drew said the Crusaders couldn’t afford to have anyone have a bad night against such a formidable opponent as Ohio State.

”We knew coming in we’d have to have several good performances from our players,” he said. ”Ryan and Jay played well but some of the others had to have big nights to take this down to the wire.”

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