Buckeyes Turn Back Morehead State 74-48

Terence Dials continued his strong play with 20 points and seven rebounds and Ohio State jumped on Morehead State for a 20-4 lead on its way to an easy win. The Buckeyes, winners of three straight, improved to 8-2.

Ohio State continued its winning ways Sunday at Value City Arena, defeating Morehead State 74-48 before a season-high crowd of 12,493.

Terence Dials led the Buckeyes (8-2) with 20 points and seven rebounds. He hit 7 of 10 shots from the floor and 6 of 9 at the foul line.

Tony Stockman and J.J. Sullinger each added 14 points for OSU, which followed up a 77-71 win over Texas Tech Thursday in Dallas by winning for the third straight game.

"I'm happy, don't get me wrong," said OSU coach Thad Matta. "I understand that wins are hard to come by in college basketball. But we always want to hold ourselves to a higher level than we were yesterday. We don't want to take a step backwards. When you get that lead you don't allow yourself to turn the ball over and take bad shots."

OSU committed just eight turnovers in Thursday's win over Texas Tech. It may be a sign of the times, but Matta was concerned that his team committed 11 turnovers in this easy win.

"Against Texas Tech, we had eight turnovers and three of those were traveling," Matta said. "Tonight, they were playing zone and not pressuring us and we had 11. We have some things we need to get corrected. We need to make sure we are sharper and more intense as we're getting ready to play games."

Dials said the Buckeyes had to guard from having a letdown after notching the big win away from home.

"Coach talked to us about not letting our guard down after we won like that, but we kind of did," Dials said. "We also played kind of good, too. It was back and forth. In order to be a good team, you've got to play consistently the whole time. We didn't do that today."

Stockman admitted it was hard to get back up, even with a two days to prepare for Morehead State.

"I think we were really up for (the Texas Tech) game," he said. "Sometimes, you've got to dig deep and get up for a game like this."

Ivan Harris added eight points and six rebounds. Jamar Butler and Matt Sylvester each had five points. Brandon Fuss-Cheatham and Je'Kel Foster each had three points and Matt Terwilliger scored two.

Matta was happy to see Dials deliver his third big game in a row. Over this three-game winning streak, he has averaged 20.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

"I think Terence has been more aggressive with the way he has been running the floor and also in his post up position," Matta said. "Obviously, he is finishing better. Terence is in better shape and that is allowing him to play better."

OSU jumped out to a 20-4 lead and hardly looked back. The Buckeyes then led 28-7, 35-12 and finally 39-22 at halftime. The Buckeyes then led by as many as 28 points on three occasions in the second half.

Josh Reed led Morehead State (5-3) with 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range. Chad McKnight, a native of Lancaster, Ohio, added 15 points and nine rebounds. OSU held the Eagles to 29.6 percent shooting (16 of 54) from the floor.

Harris got OSU off to a good start with a three-pointer 21 seconds into the game. His follow-up jam of a Dials miss put the Buckeyes up 5-2. A pair of Sullinger threes and a Stockman trey off a feed from Butler helped put OSU up 20-4 with 10:53 left in the first half.

The lead ballooned to 28-7 with 8:10 left in the half after Dials make back-to-back baskets. OSU twice led by as many as 23 in the first half. The first time came on a Stockman three-pointer that made it 35-12 with 6:36 left. Then, Sullinger scored OSU's last points of the half on an alley oop dunk from Sylvester to make it 39-16 with 3:26 left.

"On the alley oop from Matt, we had about a three-second conversation before he threw it," Sullinger said of their on-court communication from 30 feet apart. "He was looking up with his eyes and asking me to go. But my legs wouldn't go. Finally, I started moving.

"On that play, we're just trying to see what the defense gives us. They were giving us that, I guess."

Matta substituted liberally and, after Reed buried a pair of three-pointers, MSU cut the halftime lead to 39-22.

"From about the five-minute mark there of the first half, we let our guard down and they were able to get it back down to 17 at halftime," Matta said.

Reed made a three with 19:12 left in the game to cut the gap to 41-25. But OSU answered with an emphatic 12-2 run. Sullinger had a steal and layup and Harris and Butler each buried threes during that sequence as OSU went up 53-27 with 12:46 left in the game.

On five different occasions, OSU got the lead out to 28 points in the closing minutes.

"I told the team after the game, `You have to go home and look yourself in the mirror and ask did I maximize the opportunity I had today?' " Matta said.

The Buckeyes host Mercer (5-2) at 8 p.m. Wednesday at VCA.

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