COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State's perfect record stayed intact
after a scare from Belmont on Wednesday night, thanks to J.J.
Sullinger's second career double-double and some timely defense.
Sullinger scored 14 points in the second half and Je'Kel Foster
had steals on consecutive possessions down the stretch to push the
Buckeyes (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today) to an 85-75 win.
Ohio State (6-0) led by 14 in the first half and carried a
12-point lead into halftime before the Bruins (3-4) took a 48-47
lead on Andy Wicke's layup with 13:26 left.
The Buckeyes called a 30-second timeout, then reclaimed the lead
on a layup and a 3-pointer by Sullinger, who finished with 23
points and 10 rebounds.
"He's a guy that if we go for three hours, he's nonstop for
three hours," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "We've asked
numerous things of him, and he's accepted the challenge."
The Buckeyes also got 18 points from Foster, who was 3-of-6 from
beyond the arc. Jamar Butler had 12 points and a career-high seven
assists and Ron Lewis added 11 points as Ohio State won its third
game in five days.
"Tonight it was evident we were exhausted. We couldn't come up
with a loose ball. We couldn't come up with a rebound. We had to
find the guys that were going to make the plays down the stretch,"
Ohio State opened on a 13-2 run, keyed by 3-pointers from
Sullinger, Foster and Matt Sylvester.
Belmont hung around, tying it at 55 with 9:20 left on a Herndon
layup. The decisive stretch came with Ohio State leading 64-59 and
6 minutes to play.
Foster made his second straight steal, feeding Sullinger for a
dunk. Sullinger then stole it on the next possession and converted
a three-point play to make it 69-59.
"We knew we had to string some stops together because they were
making a run," Foster said. "We had to find some kind of way to
slow them down. The two steals came at the right time."