Mavunga scores 20 in 69-40 loss to No. 2 Ohio St

Julian Mavunga held up his end of the bargain. It was the rest of his Miami University teammates who came up short.

Mavunga had 20 points and 10 rebounds but No. 2 Ohio State still had more than enough firepower to pile up a big early lead in a 69-40 loss for the RedHawks on Thursday night.

"We just don't shoot well enough," said Miami coach Charlie Coles, denied his 350th career win. "We defend OK, but when you can't make a basket, you're not going to be able to play with a lot of teams — not just Ohio State, the team that's second in the nation in the polls."

Mavunga, the leading scorer and rebounder in the Mid-American Conference and one of just three players in the nation averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, had eight of Miami's 15 field goals. The RedHawks (3-7), playing their third game in six days, struggled most of the night on offense, hitting just 33 percent of their shots from the field and going 2 of 14 on 3-pointers.

Mavunga proved he could play with Big Ten players, however.

"I love Mavunga. He's come a long way," Coles said. "He came out and said, 'What about me? I'm going to have 10 rebounds, block (Jared) Sullinger's shot and get 20 points.' We just didn't support him."

William Buford had 18 points, Deshaun Thomas 15 and Sullinger 11 for the Buckeyes (12-1). Aaron Craft created chaos on defense and set up numerous baskets on offense, finishing with four points, eight assists, two steals and three rebounds.

The Buckeyes ran off the first 11 points and never trailed.

On their first possession, Buford fed Sullinger with a bounce pass behind the defender for an easy layup and Ohio State was off and running. Buford hit a 3, Thomas scored on fast-break layup, Sullinger scored again on a short jumper and Buford was on the receiving end of Craft's assist to make it 11-0.

The RedHawks were scoreless for the first 4:16, missing their first four shots with two turnovers.

After the Buckeyes hit five of their first six shots, they went into a malaise — missing 16 of the next 22.

They led 26-17 at halftime, a lead that was narrowed to seven after Josh Sewell hit a layup for the RedHawks to open the second half.

But Ohio State sprinted away by scoring 15 of the next 17 points.

Craft was the ringleader, at one point stealing the ball from a Miami guard and going coast-to-coast for a layup. Another time he dived into cheerleaders to save a loose ball and flip it to Sullinger. Craft also assisted on three baskets in a span of a little more than 2 minutes.

"He's unbelievable!" Coles said three times. "He looks so innocent out there. He's so good you just sit back and watch. If I can't have him, I'm going to enjoy watching him play for somebody else."

All of a sudden the Buckeyes were up 43-23 and the lead was never again in doubt. They won their 33rd straight home game. This one was played at Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL's Blue Jackets. The building will host second- and third-round NCAA tournament games in March.

The Buckeyes improved to 11-0 in home games this season and 78-2 against non-conference opponents in Columbus under coach Thad Matta.

With the Big Ten season just around the corner, Ohio State seemed as if it were hitting on all cylinders.

"We all forget how young this team is," Matta said of his club, which has only one senior (Buford) and one junior (reserve center Evan Ravenel). "As I told the guys, we've got 18 (conference) battles coming up."


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