Frosh lead OSU in N.C.-Wilmington rout
Deshaun Thomas scored 15 points and No. 4 Ohio State's talented freshmen stole the show in an 81-41 victory over UNC-Wilmington on Saturday night in the Global Sports Invitational.
In addition to Thomas, first-year players Jordan Sibert and Jared Sullinger each had 11 points for the Buckeyes (3-0). William Buford added 12, David Lighty had 10, and Dallas Lauderdale had 10 rebounds.
Matthew Wallace had 14 points and Chad Tomko 13 for the Seahawks (2-2).
The Buckeyes were playing for the first time since dismantling No. 9 Florida 93-75 on Tuesday night, outscoring the Gators 55-34 in the second half to easily overcome a three-point deficit.
Coach Thad Matta used the game to get seasoning for his six freshmen, considered one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.
The Buckeyes held the Seahawks scoreless for the opening 4:39 while scoring the first seven points. The lead hovered around 40 points for much of the second half.
With the game already firmly in hand at 48-16 at the half, the Buckeyes scored the first eight points of the second half.
Ohio State improved to 71-5 against non-Big Ten teams at Value City Arena.
Every scholarship player scored for the Buckeyes.
Sullinger ended up with 11 points and eight rebounds, failing to match an Ohio State record set by Herb Williams (1977) by posting double-doubles in his first three games as a freshman.
Lighty made a 3 from the corner to open the game and Buford hit a 15-footer from the wing, then the upperclassmen stood back and watched the freshmen take over.
During one spell, frosh scored 12 points in a row for Ohio State. They accounted for 24 of the last 34 points in the opening half.
Sullinger had eight points and six rebounds at the break, while Thomas, Sibert and Aaron Craft came off the bench to pour in points and help Ohio State control the tempo.
Thomas had nine points, as did Sibert, who hit 3 of 4 3-pointers in a span of just over 2 1/2 minutes. Craft handled the ball, dished passes and played scrappy defense.
The Buckeyes gradually pulled away, taking leads of 14-2, 20-6 and 31-11.
They shot 52 percent from the field and took the Seahawks, who mustered just 27 percent, completely out of the game by denying anything inside and challenging every shot from the perimeter.
The 16 points for UNCW was the fewest by an Ohio State opponent since Northwestern also scored 16 in the first half of a game on March 8, 2009.