Friday NCAA Game Recaps


CLEVELAND, OH – All season long, the supposed formula for a victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes (33-2) has been to key in on two main players: Pack the paint against Jared Sullinger and keep a body on the sweet-shooting Jon Diebler.

The problem with that equation, however, is that it leaves a guy like William Buford wide open for good looks beyond the arc. And thus far this season, Buford has capitalized on such situations, averaging better than 14 points per game.

“[Sullinger and Diebler] are two great players,” Buford said. “And when they come on them two, it opened up the game for me and Dave [Lighty] to showcase what we can do. The bigs are able to set the screens for us and I was able to know shots down.”

Buford torched the Roadrunners of from the University of Texas at San Antonio for 18 points on 7-of-12 from field, leading the Buckeyes to a 75-46 victory.

After struggling early in the first half to adapt to a very slow-paced game, the Buckeyes pulled ahead in the final 10 minutes of the half to take a 37-21 advantage. Buford found himself open on several occasions in the half, tossing in 15 points in the first 20 minutes of play.

“What I like is I’ve seen throughout the course of the season,” Coach Thad Matta said. “We’ve had games where Will [Buford] scores 17 points in the first half and Dave [Lighty] has 19 in the second half. Hopefully we can continue to do that throughout the course and play team basketball.”

On their way to becoming the top-ranked team in the nation, Ohio State has played this season under Matta’s motto “Take care and share the ball.” In their lopsided victory on Friday evening, the Buckeyes dished out 26 assists on 29 field goals.

“That’s honestly been something we take a lot of pride in,” said Jon Diebler, who finished the game with 14 points and five assists. “It’s something we’ve been doing all year. We just did a really good job of moving the ball. It was just a great overall game. Very unselfish.”

They will continue their NCAA Tournament run on Sunday when they take on No. 8 seeded George Mason at the Quicken Loans Arena.



CLEVELAND, OH – It was after 1 a.m. when coach Jim Boeheim took the podium following his team’s defeat of the Indiana State Sycamores.


"It's pretty tough. I think the players are fine. It's me," joked Boeheim, who rested his head on his hand for most of the press conference. "It's late. But I think the players are OK with it. I don't think we've got too many guys go to bed at 9 o'clock. Indiana State, they may have a couple, but I don't think we've got too many guys who go to bed early.

 In a game that started shortly before 10 p.m., the Orangemen took the floor appearing rather tired in the first 30 minutes of basketball. They started slowly and held on to a very slim margin, allowing the Sycamores to crawl within four points midway through the second half.

Indiana State, though, had no answer for 6-foor-9, 240 pound defensive stopper Rick Jackson inside,

"He's an NBA-type player," Indiana State freshman guard Jake Odumsaid. "He's big. He's physical. And he can pass well along with that. We had to be careful when we chose to double or not. He's a great player."

Jackson turned in a season-best 23 points while snagging seven rebounds and blocking two shots. 

After closing the gap to 42-38 with about 15 minutes remaining in the game, the Syacamores began turning the ball over. Syracuse reestablished its inside dominance, feeding Jackson in the low post. Jackson made four consecutive free throws on two straight possessions before throwing down a vicious two-handed slam to put the Orange ahead 51-38.

“We just didn’t make some plays, some shots didn’t go in,” Odum said. “And we let that kind of affect our defense and our rebounding on the other end, which we can’t do against a team like Syracuse.”

With the victory, Syracuse will advance to the third round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament to battle Big East foe Marquette at 7:10 p.m. in the Quicken Loans Arena.

“When you're in the tournament, you should be happy. I'm happy we're still in the tournament."



CLEVELAND, OH – Entering the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Xavier and Michigan State were the only two programs in the nation to reach the Sweet Sixteen in each of the last three seasons. Spartans coach Tom Izzo and his crew made an unusual early exit from the tournament on Thursday night at the hands of the UCLA Bruins. 


And the Musketeers followed suit with a second round loss to the Marquette Golden Eagles by a final score of 66-55.

With just 8 minutes remaining in the second half, Xavier’s leading scorer Tu Holloway splashed home his first bucket of the game breathing a little life into his team. That, however, was his only field goal of the game as Holloway, who averaged better than 21 points during the regular season, scored just five points in the loss.

“I really couldn’t figure out [what they were doing defensively],” Holloway said. “I guess I was just missing shots today.”

Golden Eagles guard Darius Johnson-Odom had a remarkably different night, scoring 19 points in an upset victory for Marquette.

“I think [playing in the Big East] is a major factor,” Johnson-Odom said. “I think it has prepared us for games like this, but in the back of our minds, we know we’re starting off 0-0, and we have to come out and play with poise, and understand that this is a new season for us.”

Turning in an equally impressive night, swingman Jimmy Butler harassed Holloway on the defensive end while turning in an outstanding 15 point effort on the offensive end. 

“[Holloway] is the key to their team,” Butler said. “And if we can take him out of the game, we take a lot of their players out of the game because he is a great facilitator. He distributes the ball well. So when he’s far away from the basket and he can’t enter run the offense like he would like to, I think it changes the whole pace of the game.”

The Golden Eagles will return to action on Sunday to take on the winner of Syracuse and Indiana State in the Quicken Loans Arena.

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