COLUMBUS, Ohio – Freshman Jared Sullinger had 30 points, a career-high 19 rebounds and showed his range by hitting a 30-foot bank shot at the first-half buzzer to lead No. 2 Ohio State past South Carolina 79-57 on Saturday.
William Buford added 12 points and Jon Diebler 11 for the Buckeyes (10-0), who expected one of their biggest tests of the young season but dominated throughout.
Sam Muldrow scored 14 points and Malik Cooke 13 for South Carolina (7-2), whose only losses this season have come against second-ranked Big Ten teams. The Gamecocks lost 82-73 at then-No. 2 Michigan State on Nov. 16.
Sullinger's previous best in rebounds was 14 against North Carolina A&T last month.
His 14 defensive rebounds were an Ohio State freshman record.
Sullinger has been a sensation in his first 10 college games. He's averaging 18.5 points and 9.6 rebounds and has been named the Big Ten player of the week twice and has won the weekly freshman award four times. He set an Ohio State record with 40 points in a 75-64 victory over IUPUI on Dec. 9.
Ohio State had expected a stout challenge inside against a solid team with some length. The Gamecocks had outrebounded seven of their previous eight opponents (including the Big Ten's annual leader in that stat, Michigan State) and came in sixth in the nation averaging 43 rebounds a game.
But the Buckeyes controlled inside at both ends and won the battle of the boards 44-35.
Battling an awful shooting game, the Gamecocks trailed by 21 points at halftime. They never got closer than 15 points after that and shot 38 percent for the game.
Sullinger banked in a 30-footer at the halftime buzzer to put Ohio State up 42-21.
He had pretty much had his own way inside up to that point as well, finishing the opening 20 minutes with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Gamecocks struggled to find any sort of tempo on offense, relying mostly on an occasional 3-pointer — Ramon Galloway hit two — while having difficulty getting the ball anywhere close to the basket. They shot just 27 percent from the field (8 of 30).
The Buckeyes trailed 3-2 early before scoring 18 of the next 21 points to take control.
It was clear that the Buckeyes made it a priority to hit the boards. With Dallas Lauderdale adding five rebounds to go with Sullinger's 10, they held a 25-17 advantage on the glass by halftime.