Columbus Northland and Ohio State verbal commitment Jared Sullinger jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and kept the margin around 10 the rest of the game, finally finishing off Columbus St. Francis DeSales 62-40 at Value City Arena Saturday evening as part of the National City Classic.
Sullinger, a sophomore who his part of the class of 2010, made his presence felt early, getting his 11th point early in the second quarter and grabbing his 11th rebound midway through the period to clinch the double-double before halftime was even near.
He finished as his team's most valuable player with a game-high 24 points and 17 rebounds, becoming the second future Buckeye on the day to lead the game in both totals after William Buford of Toledo Libbey steered his team's win.
"It was a good experience, especially playing DeSales at the Schott," Sullinger said "They're a good team. Nick Kellogg played his heart out."
Northland, the No. 2 team in Division I, moved to 11-0 under head coach Satch Sullinger, Jared's father. The Vikings finished last year undefeated as well but lost in the state tournament, making an appearance in VCA come state title time at the top of their list of priorities. Jared even said he was thinking about that while playing in his future home as a Buckeye.
"It was going through my mind, but at the same time I was thinking about playing against DeSales," he said. "It's a one game season."
Sullinger poured in seven of the Vikings' 14 first-quarter points as they took a seven-point lead into the second quarter and pushed it to 11 by the break.
He was a presence inside and out, showcasing his entire game during the fourth quarter. With seven minutes remaining, he dribbled near the midcourt stripe with no one around him. Sensing the opportunity, Sullinger dribbled inside the three-point line and nailed a feathery 16-foot jumper. As time ticked down the rest of the way, Sullinger often was one of the Vikings handling the ball on the perimeter.
"Jared's got a little bit of both of his brothers' games," Satch said, referencing former Buckeye J.J. Sullinger and current Kent State cager Julian Sullinger. "He's got enough to go out to be enough of a threat that if he has a mismatch he can be very effective."
But that didn't come at the expense of the wide-bodied 6-9 sophomore's inside game. He used quick feet inside to pour in some buckets and get to the line to twice convert three-point plays during the period, and he blocked DeSales senior center Patrick Omameh with authority midway through the period. After one late rebound, he fired an outlet pass down the court for an easy basket for teammate Devon Moore.
When asked if he received any advice from his brother when it came to playing in Value City Arena, Jared chuckled.
"The one tip he gave me was to play around, and I don't do that," he said. "Come out, have fun, dancing on the floor like the picture in the newspaper he has where he's dancing with his tights – he told me to do that, and I'm like, ‘I'm all right.' "
Sullinger made 8 of 15 shots from the floor and was 8-12 from the line. Sophomore forward James Weatherspoon added 12 points and Moore had 11 for the Vikings.
DeSales struggled, just as they had in the state semifinal a year ago in Value City Arena. Sophomore Nick Kellogg, a highly touted guard who is the son of OSU legend Clark Kellogg, had a team-high 14 points but made just 5 of 17 shots from the floor.