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Buckeyes Shuck The Huskers To Advance In The B1G Tournament

Buckeyes get it done in their first game of the tournament.

Score: No. 10 Ohio State 71, Nebraska 50 

Stars:Ohio State:Sam Thompson 19 Pts, Deshaun Thomas 19 Pts, 9 Reb. Nebraska:Brandon Ubel 16 Pts, 7 Reb. Shavon Shields 14 Pts, 5 Reb.

Story: Ohio State needed a little extra time to get going in its opening game in the Big Ten Tournament here at the United Center in Chicago. Nebraska had broken off on a 15-6 run and Thad Matta had to wake up his team during a timeout. From there, the Buckeyes took control on a 22-8 run to close the first half. In the second session, the Buckeyes shot 77%, eventually pulling away for a 71-50 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. 

There was a decidedly pro-Buckeye crowd at the United Center and even the Buckeye Nuthouse made an appearance in the upper decks of the arena. Early on, it was the Husker supporters making the most noise as Nebraska broke of on an early run led by Shavon Shields and Brandon Ubel. With the team struggling out of the gate, Thad Matta ripped into his team for the lack of energy early on. Turns out, that was a spark that got the team going. 

Sam Thompson was the star of the game for the Buckeyes. Playing his first game in his hometown, Thompson had a career high 19 points, including a career high three 3-pointers, as he led all scorers in the game. Matta noted how well he played in the postgame press conference stating that the team had driven by his old high school, Whitney Young, on the way into town. He also noted that he had "a strong sense" that he would play very well in the tournament. He certainly did that and more tonight as he was the main catalyst for the Buckeyes' scoring attack. 

Deshaun Thomas got off to a slow start himself. He said in the postgame presser that his head wasn't in it early on. He was sent to the bench after the first media timeout and teammates and coaches were encouraging him to calm down. Ultimately, he got it turned around with a 19-point effort himself and he fell one rebound shy of a double-double. He also keeps his streak alive of scoring in double figures in every game this season (31). 

Speaking of the bench, Shannon Scott and LaQuinton Ross stood out for Ohio State. Aaron Craft (7 pts, 8 assists, and 2 steals) said that he "really got us going" as Scott had seven points in the first half and continued to provide solid defensive play. LaQuinton Ross finished with 11 points, including three 3-pointers in a row that created enough distance for the Buckeyes to pull away against Nebraska. This was a solid opening win for the Buckeyes, who so far have looked like the most consistent team in the tournament. 

For the game, the Buckeyes shot just under 60 percent as they look to roll on into the semifinals to face the winner of Michigan State and Iowa. The game tips off at approximately 3:30 p.m. CST, but could be later depending on when Wisconsin and Indiana finish the first semifinal at 12:40 p.m.