Saturday , Dec , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Buckeyes blast Valparaiso in Oden’s debut

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) – Daequan Cook netted 20 points, pulled down
five rebounds and added three steals to help lead third-ranked Ohio State past
Valparaiso, 78-58.

Freshman Greg Oden made his Buckeye debut and scored 14 points to go along
with 10 rebounds and five blocks in 23 minutes of action. Oden, a seven-foot
center, has been recovering from June surgery to repair a torn ligament in his
right wrist.

Ron Lewis added 10 points for Ohio State (7-1), which was coming off its first
loss of the season, a 98-89 setback to seventh-ranked North Carolina.

Samuel Haanpaa paced the Crusaders with 18 points, while Brandon McPherson
chipped in with 11 for Valparaiso (3-4), which was coming off a pair of home
losses to Marquette and Butler.

Valparaiso controlled things early as a bucket and free throw by Urule
Igbavboa put the Crusaders up 12-7 5:35 into the game.

The Buckeyes then got it going and a layup by Cook later tied the game at
14-14. The teams then traded leads until McPherson’s layup knotted the game at
18-18 with 9:12 to go.

Ohio State then exploded with a 9-0 run, which Cook started with a three-
pointer and ended with a pair of free throws.

A layup from McPherson pulled Valparaiso to within 30-22 with 36 seconds to
go, but Cook’s conversion from behind the arc with five seconds left in the
first half sent Ohio State into the break with an 11-point edge.

Othello Hunter opened up the second half with a jumper to ignite a 14-0 burst
that put the Buckeyes comfortably ahead, 47-22. Ohio State hit three straight
three-pointers after Hunter’s basket — one each by Ivan Harris, Mike Conley
Jr. and Lewis.

The Crusaders never threatened the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Igbavboa ended with 10 points…Harris had nine while Conley Jr. finished with
seven points and seven assists… The two schools had met just once before, a
67-64 Crusader victory in the third-place game of the Great Alaska Shootout on
Nov 25, 2000…Ohio State shot 51 percent from the floor while Valparaiso hit
just 38 percent of its shot.