COLUMBUS, Ohio – Moments after his team took a 78-54 beating at No. 4 Ohio State, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers summed up his team's plight.
"Going on the road in the Big Ten is absolutely brutal," he said. "Absolutely brutal."
Down early 8-0 and 15-2, his Nittany Lions (10-12, 2-7 Big Ten) never could recover. The Buckeyes (18-3, 6-2), who share the conference lead, led by 29 points in the second half.
The victory was Ohio State's 37th in a row at home — the second-longest streak in the country behind Kentucky's 47 straight.
Chambers says that's not just a coincidence.
"We shoot much better at home. We shoot in the low 40s," he said of the Nittany Lions' percentage. "We go on the road, we're shooting in the 30s. Today we're at 31, right on our average. The comforts of home and playing in this arena and the fans. It helps, it makes a difference."
The Buckeyes' Aaron Craft drew the assignment of guarding Penn State's Tim Frazier, the Big Ten's top scorer at 19.4 points a game.
For the most part, he shut him down.
"Aaron likes a good challenge and Tim Frazier is definitely a heck of a challenge," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "Also, for the majority of the game we gave him pretty good support."
Frazier finished with 16 on 6 of 17 shooting from the field. Jermaine Marshall added 14 and Cammeron Woodyard had 10.
Penn State has lost its last 17 meetings with the Buckeyes.
The Nittany Lions paid tribute to Joe Paterno by wearing black bands on their jerseys. Paterno, Penn State's football coach for 46 years died Sunday at age 85. A public viewing and funeral was held earlier on Wednesday.
Jared Sullinger had 20 points and 13 rebounds, William Buford had 15 points and Aaron Craft 11 for Ohio State, which shot 50 percent from the field (25 of 50).
The Buckeyes, who have a big showdown with rival Michigan at home on Sunday, said they knew they couldn't look past the Nittany Lions. Penn State had stunned No. 22 Illinois 54-52 in Happy Valley last week.
"Penn State plays hard," Sullinger said. "They didn't quit."
But the Nittany Lions couldn't find the basket in the opening minutes.
"Ohio State had a lot to do with that," Chambers said. "Even though they don't have the shooters they had last year, collectively as a unit they play very hard and they defend. Every shot was contested, and they sped us up."
It doesn't get a lot easier, either.
Penn State is in the midst of a stretch of three straight games vs. Top 25 teams, two on the road. The Nittany Lions lost at No. 11 Indiana 73-54 on Sunday and play No. 25 Wisconsin on Tuesday.
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