Gardner-Webb 58

(5-4, 2-0 A-Sun)

(21) Ohio State 87

(9-0, 7-0 home)

    8:00 PM ET, December 28, 2005

    Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio

    1 2 T
    WEBB 25 3358
    #21OSU 42 4587

    Top Performers

    Gardner-Webb: S. Conn 14 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

    Ohio State: T. Dials 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast

    Buckeyes jump to early lead, cruise past Runnin' Bulldogs

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State coach Thad Matta badgered his team for the past few days for not playing hard enough in a narrow win last week.

    The Buckeyes got the message.

    Terence Dials had his way inside with 23 points and Ohio State (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) remained unbeaten with an 87-58 victory over Gardner-Webb on Wednesday night.

    "I told them after Christmas that we didn't play hard enough against Tennessee State to really evaluate the tape," Matta said. "We're not a good enough basketball team to do that. If we don't play with the intelligence and intensity we have to, there's going to be some long nights for us."

    The Buckeyes (9-0) are one of only 10 Division I teams without a loss. Two more fell by the wayside on Wednesday night. The last time Ohio State won its first nine games was a 17-0 start to open the 1990-91 season.

    Dials continued to pull out of an early slump which included games of three and five points. He had 19 points in the 74-65 win over Tennessee State last week.

    "I had a little space out there," he said. "I got deeper in the post. Once I get two feet in the paint, I don't have to make moves, I just have to shoot. Then I just took my time and finished."

    He was expected to be challenged physically by the Bulldogs' 6-foot-9 Aussie center, Simon Conn. Instead, Dials continually muscled his way over or around Conn, who led Gardner-Webb (5-4) with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

    "That's one of the few games I'll ever have where I'll be quicker than the guy guarding me," Dials said with a laugh. "I tried to use my advantage."

    Je'Kel Foster had 14 points, six steals and three assists to key Ohio State's defense, which forced 20 turnovers. Ron Lewis came off the bench for 14 points.

    Ohio State avoided the fate of fellow Big Ten member Minnesota, which lost 73-72 to the Bulldogs at home on Nov. 28. Gardner-Webb also scared defending national champion North Carolina in its opener before losing on a last-second shot, 83-80.

    Matta had preached to his team for several days that the Bulldogs were not pushovers.

    "Well, the first question you all are going to ask me is, how did we beat Minnesota and play Carolina so close?" Gardner-Webb coach Rick Scruggs said. "It's a tale of two teams. Ohio State just took it to us tonight and we didn't have an answer for them. A lot of it had to do with Ohio State."

    Ohio State had just five turnovers and hit 49 percent of its shots from the field while holding Gardner-Webb to 36-percent shooting.

    Scruggs said he came away impressed with the Buckeyes.

    "I think they're a ton better than Minnesota," he said. "I think they match up well with Carolina, although I'm not sure if Carolina's perimeter players are as strong as Ohio State's."

    The Buckeyes never trailed after Foster hit a 3-pointer barely 2½ minutes into the game.

    Holding onto a 9-8 lead, they scored on consecutive trips down the floor on Matt Sylvester passes to Dials, good for a backdoor dunk and a three-point play. That was the start of a burst which saw the Buckeyes go on a 16-2 run. Foster added a 3-pointer and Lewis hit two baskets during the surge as Ohio State built a 25-10 lead.

    After Tim Jennings scored for the Bulldogs, the Buckeyes ran off eight more points in a row -- the first four by Dials on moves inside.

    The Buckeyes led by at least 20 points most of the final 20 minutes after taking a 42-25 lead at the half.

    Brian Bender added 12 points and Ricky McPhee had 10 for the Bulldogs.

    Ohio State finished with just five turnovers -- another product of a hard week of practices.

    "Two trademarks I'd like for people to say about our basketball team are that they play hard and with intelligence and they take care of the basketball," Matta said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 58 87
    FG Made-Attempted 22-61 (.361) 30-61 (.492)
    3P Made-Attempted 4-16 (.250) 7-19 (.368)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-12 (.833) 20-31 (.645)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 12 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 35

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 28, 2005 @OSU 87, WEBB 58Recap