IOWA CITY, Iowa — Jared Sullinger made sure that foul trouble didn’t bite his team in the rear end again.
With three of his fellow starters out for the last 11 minutes of the first half and Iowa shooting bonus free throws, Sullinger led the Ohio State men’s basketball team to a nine-point halftime lead and the Buckeyes piled on from there, pulling away from the Hawkeyes in the second half for a 76-47 victory today in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Sullinger scored a season-high 28 points to lead No.6 Ohio State (15-2 overall, 3-1 Big Ten), which overcame not only foul trouble but another dismal shooting day by William Buford. The senior missed 11 of 14 shots from the field, but he did have a game-high 11 rebounds and five assists.
Eric May led Iowa (10-7, 2-2) with nine points.
Sullinger scored 11 of Ohio State’s last 17 points of the first half as the Buckeyes established a 28-19 lead at the break. He added seven more points as Ohio State began the second half with a 20-8 run to dash the Hawkeyes’ hopes of a comeback.
As happened a week earlier in a loss at Indiana, the Buckeyes got into early foul trouble against the Hawkeyes, and three starters — Lenzelle Smith Jr., Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft — were on the bench for the final 11 minutes of the first half.
This time, the Buckeyes persevered and went to the break with a 28-19 lead. The game was tied when Craft joined the others on the sideline with 10:52 remaining.
Sullinger, who finished with 15 points in the half, had 11 of them in the last 9:58, starting the run with a three-pointer from the right wing. He had 11 of the Buckeyes’ last 17 points.
Shannon Scott also had a strong half in relief of Craft, finishing with two points, five rebounds, five assists and no turnovers in 11 minutes.
Ohio State shot only 39.4 percent from the field in the half but Iowa was worse, at 21.7 percent. The Hawkeyes made more free throws (eight) than field goals (five) in the half.