Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 at 8:24 am  |  16 responses

Ohio St. Trounces Duke in Top-5 Battle

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

Jared Sullinger returned to school for games like these — No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Duke. The player of the year candidate had a workmanlike 21 points and 8 rebounds as his Buckeyes made their argument for a No. 1 ranking with an 85-63 victory.

This game was over after the first 20 minutes as Ohio State ran ahead to a 47-28 halftime lead. The margin grew to as many as 24 points in the second half.

Outside of Sullinger, who Duke had no answer inside for, the difference was the play of sophomore guard Aaron Craft. Known as a defensive stopper, Craft tied a career-high with 17 points to go along with 8 assists and 5 rebounds.

After a 22-point defeat even the Blue Devils had to tip their caps to the Buckeyes.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

“What can I say? Sometimes you just get your butt kicked,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I’ve had my butt kicked before, and we’ve kicked some butt. Tonight, my butt’s sore.”

The win was one of four victories for the conference in Tuesday’s ACC-Big Ten challenge. Northwestern, Illinois and Purdue all added to the Big Ten’s total, while Virginia and Clemson had the two victories for the ACC. The Big Ten will win its third straight title in the event if it can take three of the six games on Wednesday night, headlined by No. 7 Wisconsin visiting No. 5 North Carolina.

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  • marc

    Am I the only one that thinks that Austin Rivers game does not suit Duke’s play style?

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    Ohio State and Baylor look like the most complete teams in the country. And Aaron Craft is basically the man, probably more important than Sullinger.This squad looks scary good. I think Coach K has pretty much abandoned Coach K basketball to compromoise with these 1-and-done superstars. Nothing I’ve seen from Duke even looks remotely like whats made them successful all these years. I’m talking about spreading the floor from like 40 feet out, continuous off-ball motion, double and triple picks….its something I noticed last year during those first few games Kyrie played. Kyrie was so special it really didn’t matter. When he went out and Nolan began to take over the ball, you started to see more Coach K basketball (when Kyrie came back in late in the tourney you saw all of that unravel). Here we have Austin Rivers playing 40 minutes, taking 20 shots, and being the primary ball handler on the squad….a Coach K squad…none of that adds up. Its like Coach K is saying he has compromise on the fundamentals to adapt to the future of the game.

  • marc

    I noticed that too. IMO Austin Rivers should have went to a different school.

  • T-Money

    He was made for Cal’s dribble drive offense. Didn’t he actually commit to UK first? I still think he will be disappointing in the L because he needs about 3 more inches to play the game that way at the NBA level – and it’s not like he’s Monta explosive.

  • marc

    T-Money i think its still too early to say he will be dissappointing in the league. He is only a freshman that played 7 games. You can’t tell if he will be able to adapt in a NBA situation.

  • http://hwww.twitter.com_dfrance dfrance21

    But he goes to Duke and ALL Duke players are dissapointing in the L. Rivers is a one-on-one player, he doesn’t know how to play off of or with his teammates because he’s used to playing with scrubs. its still early tho, maybe he’ll adapt.

  • T-Money

    marc – i don’t think it’s too early to make that assessment because it’s about his make up and not his skill level. even if he gets 20+ ppg at duke, it won’t translate to the L. what’s the market in the nba for undersized shooting guards without freaking athletic abilities? a best case scenario would be ben gordon and he’s nowhere near as strong or athletic as ben. i hope he learns the point but i doubt it, he’s a scorer. his game is based on getting to the rim and creating separation for his pull ups. how is he going to be able to do that in the league?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Black Rick Kamla – Ohio St. and Baylor?
    Why Baylor? That’s an interesting choice, why do you feel they’re more complete than teams like Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Wisconsin, Syracuse, etc?
    They haven’t beaten anyone of any significance, and despite being ranked in the top 10 I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost their next game to Northwestern, who is being slept on so far.
    Also, Craft more important than Sullinger?
    C’mon now.
    Without Craft, their defense, leadership and intangibles suffer.
    Without Sully, they’re not a top 25 team.
    You could say Craft is the heart and soul of the team, that I could understand.
    But just like with the Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah is the heart and soul, Derrick Rose is the most important player, you can say the same about Craft and Sullinger.
    Also, yes Rivers and Duke are not a good fit.
    I said on Twitter last night the kid reminds me of Kyle Lee Watson lol, always out to get his.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Kentucky is the most complete team. ADavis is the difference because out of all those blue-chippers Coach Cal has recruited, he’s the first BIG since Camby.

  • don electron

    almost EVERYBODY just said Ohio State was not that good at the beginning of the season, it was like they never saw Ohio State play once(craft locks NBA prospects up like Brandon knight ,but of course knight had the last laugh), but craft and sully is the key Ohio state success as long as we have them we can beat any team in the country..but its all about march for the bucks the only teams im worried about are Baylor, North Carolina and Kentucky , these teams have to much talent if they figure everything out they could easily compete with the buckeyes, im not worried about the regular season i just don’t want to see another sweet 16 exit…lmao @Enigmatic on the Kyle Lee Watson comment

  • anthony y

    Sullinger is a beast and now that he’s lost the extra weight, it gonna show. He’s taller than people think and stronger. Not to mention his soft hands and shooting touch. Rivers should have gone to pg university. Coach cal’s run and gun would fit his style better than the half court style duke runs. He can play no doubt, but if he can adapt, should be his measure of how well he’ll be in the league.

  • Nella

    @ JTaylor

    Cousins wasn’t a Big?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21


  • seun

    lol @TMoney statement about rivers not being explosive is absolutely false. want me o prove it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gKLpgTNfg8 oh and i got another one http://youtu.be/IRNwO3AEFlc. oh and rivers played well that game in fact he had his best game by far of his entire career. i mean he had two beautiful assists in which he penetrated the rim and passed it to the open man. so i mean i don’t know why you guys continue to criticize him because he had by far his best game of his career.

  • seun

    oh and duke would not be better without rivers in fact they would be much worse; the fact is rivers is the only guy on this team who can beat his man off the dribble and if you have a team with no guys who can beat heir opponents off he dribble then how can you seriously expect to win games against top competition like north Carolina, Ohio state, Kentucky and many others. the fact is their are very few guys in college that can stay in front of rivers and youtube videos can prove that, plus h had a great game that can really boost his probably fading confidence. rivers is basically the x factor for this team and if he learns to play under control, to attack the rim to find an open teammate, as well as learn to take more makeable shots then the sky is the limit for him.

  • seun

    what does it mean if your comment is “awaiting moderation”?