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Oden, Ohio State spoil Sampson's Big Ten debut

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- If Greg Oden was worried about playing his
home state Hoosiers, it sure didn't show.

The freshman center scored a career-high 21 points, teammate
Othello Hunter had 14 and both provided key defensive stops down
the stretch to help No. 6 Ohio State beat Indiana 74-67 on Tuesday
night.

Daequan Cook added 12 points, Ron Lewis had 10 and Mike Conley
Jr. had nine points and 10 assists for the Buckeyes (12-2, 1-0),
who overcame 12-of-22 3-point shooting by Indiana (9-4, 0-1) to
improve to 10-0 at Value City Arena and spoil Hoosiers coach Kelvin
Sampson's first Big Ten game.

"I was a little nervous. It was a big, physical game, and Coach
[Thad Matta] told us it would be really tough," said Oden, who
teamed with Conley to lead Indianapolis' Lawrence North High School
to three consecutive state championships.

The outcome wasn't decided until the closing minutes, when Ohio
State turned up the defensive intensity and turned blocked shots
into baskets.

"We made key shots at the end and got some big stops on defense
during that time," Matta said. "Indiana held the ball a little
bit and wanted the tempo their way, and we had to keep guys' minds
right, not getting frustrated."

In the conference debut for Ohio State's highly regarded
recruiting class, the two tallest of the five newcomers sparked the
Buckeyes down the stretch.

With the 7-foot Oden on the bench after picking up his fourth
foul with 6:13 remaining, the 6-9 Hunter gave Ohio State a
defensive presence in the low post by blocking two shots by D.J.
White.

Hunter, a junior college transfer, followed up the first block
with a dunk as the Buckeyes, without Oden on the floor, added four
points to their lead to go up 67-60.

Armon Bassett made two free throws with 2:48 left to bring
Indiana within 67-62, and Oden returned to the game. His two free
throws with 1:19 left made it 72-64. Roderick Wilmont's 3 brought
Indiana within five points, but Oden dashed the Hoosiers' hopes
when he emphatically blocked a layup by Bassett.

Freshman Joey Shaw led Indiana with a career-high 16 points,
going 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Bassett was 3-of-4 on 3s and
scored 13 points, and Lance Stemler went 3-of-5 beyond the arc and
had 11 points.

White had 11 points and eight rebounds, but was only 3-of-14
from the field as Oden and Hunter, who combined for all of Ohio
State's seven blocks, harassed him into tough shots.

White said Oden and Ohio State's interior defense only accounted
for part of his problems, believing his shots still should have
dropped.

"He's 7 feet, but I had my shots and I need to finish around
the rim," White said. "Greg did alter my shot some, but I just
missed."

Oden was 6-of-11 from the field and 9-of-10 on free throws
despite having to shoot left-handed at the line as his right
(shooting) wrist continues to recover from surgery in June to
repair ligament damage.

"He looks good left-handed," Sampson said.

Hunter was 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 at the line. The
size of Oden and Hunter, plus the quickness of Ohio State's
backcourt, enabled the Buckeyes to have a 13-point edge at the foul
line -- 24-of-35 to 11-of-11 for Indiana.

Ohio State won the opener of a grueling stretch that takes them
to Illinois and No. 4 Wisconsin before a home game against
Tennessee (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today; No. 19 AP). Indiana, which had won four straight, lost for the first
time since Dec. 9 at Kentucky.