Buford leads Bucks Past VMI


AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - William Buford couldn't have been happier

that No. 3 Ohio State was playing against VMI, a team that liked to

press and run and gun.

Buford scored 23 points and Jared Sullinger added 17 points and

12 rebounds to lead the Buckeyes past the Keydets 107-74 on

Wednesday night.

"I liked it. I don't know about everybody else, but I did,"

Buford said of VMI's uptempo style. "We just stayed with it and we

were making shots on offense and getting rebounds and pushing it."

Aaron Craft had 13 points and eight assists, Deshaun Thomas 11

points and J.D. Weatherspoon 10 points for the Buckeyes (5-0), who

shot 68 percent from the field.

"I told our guys after the game Monday night, I said, `Hey,

this (VMI) is going to be a fun game for you,"' Ohio State coach

Thad Matta said.

Buford, the only senior on Ohio State's roster, had hit just 8

of 23 field-goal attempts in Ohio State's last two games and was

shooting just 41.7 percent from the field on the season. But he

made 10 of 16 shots from the field, including both 3-point attempts

and his only foul shot.

He blamed it on the bad shots he was taking in previous games.

"That's just something that I don't need to do, to be honest,"

he said. "I'm just trying to find the way to take good shots. And

Craft's getting me the ball and Sully's setting good screens.

Tonight I was just fortunate to knock them down."

Keith Gabriel led VMI (3-2) with 21 points, with Ron Burks

adding 19 and Stan Okoye 12. The Keydets were playing their first

ranked opponent since a 107-69 loss to then-No. 4 Ohio State on

Nov. 10, 2006. That Buckeyes team went on to the national

championship game before falling to defending NCAA champion

Florida, 84-75.

"They are as advertised," coach Duggar Baucom said of the

current Buckeyes. "Sullinger's a load inside and did a great job

and we knew he and Buford were the two main guys. We didn't know

that Deshaun Thomas could shoot 3s like that."

The 6-foot-7 Thomas opened things up by hitting 3 of 4 shots

behind the arc in the opening half.

The Keydets came in averaging 88.2 points a game (allowing 82)

while pumping up a shot every 34 seconds. Early on, the Buckeyes

beat them at their own game by hurrying back against the press for

easy baskets. Sullinger made all four first-half field-goals, all

from within a step of the basket.

"Throughout this week coach has really been on us to make more

shots," Craft said. "That's definitely one of the things that we

needed to do better was to knock down good shots. One of the

greatest ways to help us to do so is to get the ball inside to

Jared and Deshaun and allow them to get some easy buckets. That

just opens it up more for everyone else."

The Buckeyes ran their home winning streak to 27 in a row, and

can tie the third-longest streak in school history when they host

Valparaiso on Friday night. They play their first eight games at

home before visiting No. 14 Kansas on Dec. 10.

Ohio State led by 13 at the half after shooting 70 percent from

the field in the opening 20 minutes. Sullinger then scored on three

easy baskets inside to open the second half and the Buckeyes later

went on a 23-3 run to put the game out of reach.

"The difference in the game, it was 13 at the half and they

came out and pounded it into Jared and he got some baskets,"

Baucom said. "Then, uncharacteristically, we turned it over, which

turned into transition (baskets)."

Matta went to his bench for most of the last 12 minutes.

Ohio State has won all three meetings with the Keydets, all at


The Buckeyes have been busy this week, but that hasn't seemed to

be a problem.

"This is a college player's dream week right now," Sullinger

said with a laugh. "Three games in five days, that means less


Copyright Associated Press, All Rights Reserved