Buckeyes down UNH, 77-59

The Ohio State basketball team moved to 10-2 with a 77-59 win over visiting New Hampshire Tuesday. Terence Dials continued his hot streak with another double-double. Here is the report.

Junior center Terence Dials had another big night, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, as Ohio State downed visiting New Hampshire 77-59 Tuesday.

Tony Stockman had 11 points, on just 4 of 17 shooting, and J.J. Sullinger added 10 points for the winners.

The Buckeyes (10-2) have shot well for most of the season, and, other than Stockman's cold night, this game was no different. They were 41 percent from the floor (29 of 70), including 35 percent (10 of 29) from 3-point range.

"Yeah, I felt we shot the ball decent overall," OSU coach Thad Matta said. "We seemed to heat up as the game went on. But, Tony, we've got to get him shooting better and taking better shots."

It was the first meeting between OSU and UNH, and the game proved to be more interesting than expected for most of the first half.

The Wildcats (4-6) led at various stages, including an 18-15 advantage at the 11:55 mark. Following a Mike Christensen 3-pointer, New Hampshire led 23-22 with 8:51 left in the half. However, that would prove to be its final lead of the game.

Dials, the reigning two-time Big Ten Player of the Week, grabbed one of his 10 offensive rebounds on a Matt Sylvester miss, and dropped it in for a 24-23 Ohio State lead with 8:28 remaining in the first half.

From there, the Buckeyes slowly extended the margin, taking their largest lead of the first half (39-31) on another interior basket from the powerful 6-9 Dials.

Ohio State led 41-34 at halftime and Dials paved the way with 12 points and six boards in the opening stanza.

Dials almost single-handedly put the game out of reach in the second half, scoring eight of the Buckeyes' first 12 points for a 53-41 lead.

With Dials controlling the boards and OSU guards such as Je'Kel Foster dropping home 3-pointers, the Bucks just continued to build on their lead.

Foster, who finished with nine points, gave Ohio State a comfortable 17-point lead (65-48) with a 3-pointer at the 7:30 mark of the second half.

The Bucks' largest lead of the game was 20 and was reached on two occasions. Dials converted a traditional 3-point play with 2:30 left in the game for a 75-55 lead. Then, following a UNH basket, Matt Marinchick dropped in a layup on a smooth pass from Brandon Fuss-Cheatham for a 77-57 OSU lead.

For Dials, it was his second consecutive double-double, his third of this season, and the sixth of his career. The 14 rebounds tied a career high and the 10 offensive boards set a career best.

He is playing by far the best basketball of his career and is establishing himself as one of the top post players in the country.

As always, Dials was humble after the game.

"Coach (Matta) preaches consistency over greatness and I'm just trying to be consistent the rest of this season and come in each night and have a workmanlike effort," Dials said. "I've been staying aggressive. My teammates have been doing a good job of getting the ball to me in the post. I've just been taking my time and making shots."

Dials played at 250 pounds last season, but says he is down in the 240 range this year.

"Yeah, it's improved my all-around game being in better shape," Dials said. "Coach Matta came in and made sure that I got in shape and it's helped my game all-around. I'm able to play longer minutes and be more productive."

Matta is obviously happy the light bulb came on sooner rather than later for Dials. Everyone knew he had talent, but he's taken his game to the next level. He's being more assertive and is finishing when he gets the ball on the low post.

"Terence, I thought once again, really established himself down low," Matta said. "You know, I've never had a player get 10 offensive rebounds in a game. That's an incredible feat. He's playing extremely well.

"I thought once again we got it to him, but not as much as we needed to. We need more balance."

Matta was not pleased with his team's slow start to the game. Yes, the Buckeyes were coming off a holiday break, but so were the Wildcats.

"They did a good job of changing up some things on us," Matta said of UNH. "And for some reason, we weren't into the flow tonight. We weren't moving the ball as fast as we wanted to, we weren't cutting, and we had guys standing. We have to do a better job of just executing what we're trying to do on offense.

"I give New Hampshire a lot of credit. I thought their guys played hard and really took us out of some things."

Matta did not think that Ohio State was able to establish the tempo.

"As I told the team after the game, we weren't tuned into the game the way we needed to be," he said. "We would have three guys playing hard offensively and defensively, but that left two holes out there. I talked to the team and told them what we need to do. For the most part, we were more reactive than attacking. We are not a good enough team to do that."

Hamilton (Oh.) High School product Ben Sturgill – a 6-8 senior center – led New Hampshire with 16 points.

Ivan Harris had nine points for Ohio State. He was joined in the scorebook by Sylvester and Fuss-Cheatham with five points apiece, and Marinchick with four.

Ohio State gets back at it Friday (New Year's Eve) against St. Joseph's at 6 p.m. at Value City Arena.

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