No. 2 Ohio State capped a perfect jaunt through the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 100-40 victory against visiting Tennessee-Martin. And like most of the 12 games that proceeded it this season, this one was over at halftime.
The Buckeyes (13-0) scored the first 12 points of the game, the first seven of which came from junior guard William Buford. The Skyhawks (4-9) got their first basket of the game at the 16:46 mark to break the skid, but OSU's lead continued to climb from there.
The visitors threatened to break the record for first-half scoring futility against the Buckeyes this season, and it took some loosening by the OSU defense to eclipse the 16-point mark set by three other opponents this season.
After the Buckeyes had opened up their largest lead of the half at 33 points with 3:39 left, Tennessee-Martin closed the stanza on a 7-6 run to set the halftime mark at 49-17. During that stretch, the Skyhawks connected on three of their final six shots.
It did not carry over into the second half, however. OSU opened with a 9-0 run that forced Tennessee-Martin to call for a timeout two minutes into the action. It did not stop the bleeding, however, as the Buckeyes scored nine more points before the visitors mounted any resistance. Their first field goal of the half was at 14:33 and made it a 67-19 OSU lead.
In the first 16:21 of the half, the visitors were 4 for 25 (16.0 percent) from the field. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes had connected on 55.6 percent (20 for 36) of their attempts and had scored 12 points off of nine Tennessee-Martin turnovers.
During the first half, the Buckeyes had separate runs of 13-0, 12-0 and 10-0.
Buford and freshman forward Jared Sullinger combined to score the team's first 18 points with Buford contributing 10 of them. They finished the half with 16 and 12 points, respectively, while freshman reserve Deshaun Thomas had 10. Only one Skyhawks player connected on more than one first-half basket and that was reserve Reuben Clayton, who had nine points.
Buford was one of five Buckeyes to finish in double figures with his 23 points leading all scorers. Sullinger had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the sixth double-double of his OSU career. Thomas also had 20 points while seniors David Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale each finished with 10 points.
Thomas drove the basket and drew a foul with 12.9 seconds. He converted on both free throws to set the final margin. It marks the third time OSU has eclipsed the 100-point mark this season.
The 13-0 start for the Buckeyes improves upon the best-ever during head coach Thad Matta's seven-year tenure in Columbus. The previous best was 11 consecutive victories to open the 2005-06 season.
Former OSU center Greg Oden was in attendance for the game and told Big Ten Network analysts that he is about four weeks away from being off crutches after suffering a knee injury while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers.