Deshaun Thomas scored 23 points and No. 2 Ohio State welcomed back star forward Jared Sullinger in an 82-58 victory over visiting South Carolina Upstate last night.
The Buckeyes (9-1) were effective if not overwhelming in rebounding from a 78-67 loss at No. 13 Kansas on Saturday.
Sullinger, who had missed Ohio State's last two games with back spasms, received polite applause when he entered the game at the 14:37 mark of the first half. He took his time getting into the pace of the game, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Torrey Craig had 20 points for Upstate (6-5), playing its third game in a monthlong, seven-game road swing. The Spartans, in their fifth season of Division I competition, are 0-20 against teams from the six major conferences.
The win was Ohio State's 31st straight at home, the second-longest streak ever at the school behind only the 50 in a row from 1959-64 while Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek and Gary Bradds were the stars.
William Buford added 14 points for the Buckeyes.
After the Spartans scored the first four points of the second half to cut the deficit to 37-31, the Buckeyes pulled away.
Sullinger, who played the last 14:37 of the first half and the first 7:20 of the second and a couple of minutes late, hit two free throws and Lenzelle Smith Jr. made a drive down the heart of the lane. After a basket by Upstate, Ohio State scored on its next three possessions - a dunk by Sullinger, Thomas off a long pass from Smith and Aaron Craft on lefthanded layup off a baseline drive.
That made it 47-36 and the lead never dropped below nine points again.
At Wright State, Sean Kilpatrick scored 20 points and Cincinnati (6-3) won its first game without suspended star forward Yancey Gates, rolling, 78-58. The Bearcats were coming off a 76-53 loss at Xavier that was stopped when a brawl erupted with 9 seconds left.
* At Baylor, Pierre Jackson's 12 points off the bench led the No. 6 Bears (7-0) over Bethune-Cookman, 69-42.
Federal prosecutors say disclosure of information used to obtain search warrants for the home and office of former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine would jeopardize their ongoing investigation "into the sensitive area of child abuse and molestation."
Fine was fired Nov. 27 after three men said he sexually abused them when they were boys. He has denied wrongdoing.