The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 9-4 lead in the first three minutes of the game thanks to some quick buckets. The Gophers hung tough for awhile, keeping the game close early in the game.
Minnesota brought the game back to 15-13 in favor of Ohio State thanks to a three by Blake Hoffarber which ignited the crowd of over 14, 000 at Williams Arena. This momentum was short lived as Williams Buford, and David Lighty caught fire from the field.
Another mismatch in the first half was the rebounding of Ohio State—who dominated the Gophers on the board, outrebounding the home team by a margin of 20-6 at the offensive end for the game. Minnesota went into the break down by nine with a score of 38-29 in favor of the nation's top-ranked squad.
The second half picked up where the first left off—except for this time the star was Ohio State forward Dallas Lauderdale. Lauderdale started the half with two rebounds, two dunks, a block and six points within the first two minutes of the second frame.
Ohio State rode this early momentum boost to a 19-point lead. The second half was plagued with fouls by both teams. The Gophers had 10 fouls in the first 10 minutes of the half, putting the Buckeyes in the double bonus for the majority of the final period.
Ohio State's rebounding and hot shooting, along with stout defense was too much to handle for the Gophers who couldn't mount a sufficient comeback, falling to the Buckeyes by a score of 82-69.
Inside the Game
Jared Sullinger proved why he is considered one of the best freshmen in the country, snagging 13 boards, eight offensive, and adding 18 points. Sullinger used his big body to pound the paint, overpowering the Gophers' defenders for rebounds and buckets.
The Gophers again struggled to control the ball, turning it over an incredible 19 times. The Buckeyes on the other hand only gave the ball up eight times.
Chip Armelin had one of his best games of the year, scoring 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Armelin had nice mid-range jumpers as well as some nice moves to the cup, including a rim-rocking slam off the dribble that brought the crowd to their feet despite the large deficit faced by the Gophers.
Minnesota had a solid shooting night, nailing 25-for-49 from the field, 5 of 13 from deep and 14-for-18 from the free throw line. The problem for Minnesota was the lack of second-chance opportunities and the enormous amount of turnovers.
Blake Hoffarber had another solid game playing the point guard position for Minnesota. The senior ended the game with a team-high 16 points while shooting 4-for-9 from behind the arc.
"We were pretty much manhandled in the second half. Ohio State is very deserving of their No. 1 ranking. I think they played extremely well. We made some mistakes, obviously, when you turn the ball over 19 times. You're not going to win many games that way. Ohio State is one of the best defensive teams in the country. We had some positive things though as well. Chip Armelin and Austin Hollins are continuing to improve and play better." — Head coach Tubby Smith
"I've just been looking at the veterans out there before me and they tell me to come out and play up to my potential. That's what I've been doing and it helped me in the second half with scoring and getting defensive stops." — Freshman guard Chip Armelin on playing with confidence.