COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jared Sullinger set an Ohio State freshman record with 40 points, leading the second-ranked Buckeyes back from a nine-point second-half deficit to beat IUPUI 75-64 on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-9 Columbus native hit 12 of 17 shots from the field and 16 of 23 free throws — both of which were also records — and had 13 rebounds as the Buckeyes (7-0) escaped on a night when the pesky Jaguars (4-6) shot 51 percent from the field and constantly applied pressure.
William Buford added 14 points and Jon Diebler 13 for the Buckeyes, who looked rusty at times after a nine-day layoff.
Alex Young had 20 points, Leroy Nobles 16 and Donovan Gibbs 12 for the Jaguars.
The Buckeyes finished the game on a 34-14 run.
It was the 23rd 40-point game ever by a Buckeye, and the first since Dennis Hopson scored 41 in 1986 against Dayton. It was only the fourth time an Ohio State player has scored 40 points or more in a game in the last 45 years.
The previous freshman scoring record at Ohio State was held by Michael Redd, who had 30 points against Southern California on Dec. 20, 1997.
Despite Sullinger's gaudy numbers, it was anything but easy for the Buckeyes.
The Jaguars hit their first five shots of the second half to build a 45-39 lead.
The Jaguars' biggest lead came at 50-41 at 12:43 on a 3-pointer by John Ashworth with 2 seconds left on the shot clock after Ohio State had played smothering defense for 33 seconds.
There was an uneasy rumble in the crowd as Ohio State brought the ball down the court.
The Buckeyes, who missed nine of their first 11 shots in the half, then found the range.
Diebler made a 3 from the left wing and after a miss at the other end, Sullinger took a feed from Buford for a vicious dunk to cut it to 50-46. Again IUPUI misfired and this time Buford drove through traffic and hesitated while hitting a scoop shot to cut the gap to two points. Sullinger hit two more foul shots and then scored inside to complete the 11-0 run and put the Buckeyes in front 52-50 with 8:37 left. It was their first lead in more than 10 minutes.
The Jaguars pulled even at 54 on a jumper by Gibbs before Diebler hit a 3 from the left wing and then fed Sullinger for a jam and a 59-54 lead.
During one span, the Buckeyes outscored the Jaguars 24-4 — with Sullinger scoring 14 and Diebler hitting two 3s.
The Jaguars hit just about every pressure shot they took in the opening half. Frequently working the ball around until there were 10 or 15 seconds left on shot clock, they then would often settle for an off-balance jumper — that usually went in.
They shot 52 percent from the field but no one was hotter than Young. He hit 5 of 11 shots, most with a defender's hand in his face or when he was falling away from the basket.
The Buckeyes were effective in the paint, going to Sullinger who was 8 of 10 at the line in scoring 14 points. Buford hit his first four shots and finished the half with 10 points.
IUPUI, which was opening a six-game road trip, has never beaten a ranked team in 10 tries. They are 0-3 against teams ranked No. 2.