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Looking back at OSU's loss
April 2, 2012 - Ed Puskas
When Jared Sullinger was a high school player at Columbus Northland, he was a man among boys. More often than not, that also has been the case in his two seasons at Ohio State.
But there have been times that Sullinger has looked ordinary. One of those occasions was Saturday night, when the Buckeyes were eliminated from the Final Four by Kansas, 64-62. Sullinger was just 5-of-19 from the floor and had several shots blocked down low.
Sullinger is 6-foot-9, but he's not a leaper. He relies in getting himself in good position to finish, He also is helped by being paired on the floor with Deshuan Thomas, whose combination of size and perimeter shooting draws opposing big men away from the basket. When Thomas is scoring, the paint opens for Sullinger in the form of one-on-one matchups he can win.
But with Thomas in foul trouble against Kansas, Sullinger was stuck on an island inside with the Jayhawks' Jeff Withey -- a legitimate 7-footer -- and All-American forward Thomas Robinson often available to help. Withey blocked seven shots against the Buckeyes and most of those were forced up by Sullinger. The Buckeyes' sophomore usually gets a lot of his points at the foul line because opponents are forced to foul him when they can't match up with him one-on-one. But Sullinger attempted just four free throws against Kansas because the Jayhawks seldom had to contend with him with only one defender.
That game might have been Sullinger's last for Ohio State. He could declare for the NBA draft. Thomas, whose stock had risen steadily during the tournament before his own off-night against Kansas, also could decide to leave early. I think both players could benefit from another year of college competition. They have until April 10 to decide.
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