Buckeyes top Samford, 80-62

Led by 19 points from Velimir Radinovic, the OSU men's basketball team marched to their fourth win of the year today with an 80-62 win over Samford.

Ohio State got over the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 80-62 win over visiting Samford on Saturday.

The Buckeyes (4-3) were led by Velimir Radinovic's 19 points.

It was a balanced attack as Tony Stockman added 16 points, J.J. Sullinger 13 and Brandon Fuss-Cheatham played the best game of his OSU career with 11.

The Bucks were hot from the floor all afternoon - shooting 57 percent - and were able to pull away late from a decent Samford squad.

"I don't know what the perception was, but I thought we played very well today," OSU head coach Jim O'Brien said. "This is not a very easy team to guard. They just keep running their stuff and you have to pick your poison. Do you want to guard them man-to-man and deal with all the stuff that they do, or are you going to try to play bigger and play some zone, which is what we attempted to do. And then you have to deal with them shooting their threes. So, we decided to play smaller and we ended up playing with four guards a large portion of the game."

For the first time this season, Ohio State did a good job of feeding the post. Radinovic was nearly unstoppable, using his jump hook time and time again.

"We knew we needed to go inside more than anything and I think Velimir really benefited," O'Brien said. "And I think even when we played with the four guards, we put J.J. down there and that's why J.J. gives you so much versatility, because he's a very tough guy to defend around the basket.

"I think our guys did a much better job of throwing the ball inside and our big guys - Velimir in particular - had a great day today."

The 7-foot Radinovic is hard to miss, but the OSU guards were having a tough time finding him until today's game. He also was able to stay out of foul trouble for a change.

"I felt maybe earlier in the season, some of the guys weren't looking for me, but that all comes with time," Radinovic said. "They looked for me today and I was able to hit my shots. I was just trying to get that monkey off my back. I had to get on a roll and it's a good thing it happened today and hopefully it will lead to good games in the future."

Samford, which made the NCAA Tournament in 1999 and 2000, came out strong and actually led 15-10 early in the first half.

However, the Buckeyes were a blistering 12-of-17 from the floor to begin the game and quickly turned things around. They went on an 18-3 run to take a 28-18 lead, and their largest lead of the first half was 35-24 at the 4:00 mark.

At halftime, Ohio State led 42-32.

However, the Bulldogs (2-4) came out hot from beyond the 3-point arc and quickly cut the deficit down to 46-43.

But at the 11:54 mark of the second half, with the Buckeyes still holding on to a narrow three-point margin at 52-49, OSU decided to put the game out of reach.

The Bucks went on an 11-0 run, taking a 63-49 lead with 7:57 left in the game.

"That run was big for us," Radinovic said. "They were getting back in the game and we needed something like that."

The Bucks stretched their lead to as many as 20 on a pair of occasions (75-55; 80-60) and were able to record their first blowout of the year.

O'Brien had a lot of reasons to be pleased afterwards, but probably none more so than's Fuss-Cheatham's play.

"If you see Brandon making some shots, that changes the complexion of everything for us," O'Brien said. "If you can combine his ability to get in the lane and find people, with making some perimeter jump shots, then he just opens a whole world, to him and for us. So it was great to see him to hit a full pull-up jumpers and if we can get him to play a little bit more confidently with his shooting, that will really go a long way to helping us."

Stockman also turned in a good performance. He has been the target of a lot of bashing, but those people seem to be missing the boat. You can teach someone to play under control and take good shots (like OB will), but you can't teach some of the skills that Stockman possesses.

"I thought Tony was very good," O'Brien said. "You have a guy come off the bench and get 16 for you, that's pretty good. He had no turnovers. He still has to work a little bit on his defense, but on this team, everybody does. I thought his shot selection was very good. I think he took one shot I was not happy with, but I was pleased with the way Tony played today."

Samford was led by Robert Merritt's 16 points.

Game notes:

* Terence Dials had a solid game with seven points, but a couple things stand out about Dials: he needs to be stronger with the ball and just meaner in general. Far too many times Dials should be overpowering defenders, but gets the ball knocked away. He has the ability to be a dominant big man in the Big Ten, but he needs a nasty streak.

* Shun Jenkins had a sweet one-handed running jam on an assist from Stockman in the first half… Jenkins isn't putting up numbers this year, but he always looks good when he's in there. If nothing else, his rebounding and defensive prowess is keeping freshman Ivan Harris on the bench.

* Speaking of dunks, Radinovic had a nice one at the end of the first half. Fuss-Cheatham missed a breakway lay-up, but Radinovic was running the floor and slammed it home just before the buzzer.

* Matt Sylvester had a very solid game off the bench with 10 points… He has changed his shot - it still looks ugly, but it's working for him.

* Ricardo Billings continues to start in place of Stockman, but wasn't able to get much going today… Bringing Stockman off the bench still seems like a good plan though. Don't expect a lineup change any time soon... That includes the twin-towers look of Radinovic and Dials.

* There was a C.Bass sighting. Sophomore forward Charles Bass entered late in the second half and almost immediately blocked a shot. It was called a foul, but looked clean.

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