COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A lot of things were going Indiana's way before a native son did in the Hoosiers.
Deshaun Thomas, last year's Indiana Mr. Basketball, came out of a slump with 22 points to lead Ohio State (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 2 AP) past Indiana 82-61 on Sunday.
Thomas scored all the points during a 14-3 first-half run that spanned 3:36 and turned the game into a rout. He had managed just 13 points in his last seven games.
"After I hit my first two 3s, I felt kind of warm," said Thomas, a 6-foot-6 freshman who's prepared to pump up shots the minute he jumps out of bed. "I felt kind of comfortable."
Thomas, who Indiana coach Tom Crean had tried to recruit after he had verbally committed to Ohio State, was the story for the Buckeyes in the first half. He gave them a lift after starters Jared Sullinger, David Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale got in early foul trouble.
"Deshaun came in and gave us a tremendous boost," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "He hit a couple of shots and I told him during a timeout that I liked him making shots but I thought he was really playing hard on defense as well. That was a big focus coming into this game."
Thomas finished his career at Fort Wayne's Bishop Luers High School with 3,018 points, third most among all Indiana schoolboys behind Damon Bailey and Marion Pierce.
Indiana, which hasn't beaten a Top 25 team on the road in more than nine years, led 8-7 after Derek Elston scissored through the lane for a layup at the 16:35 mark, but didn't score again for almost 8 minutes until Elston scored again on a short jumper.
Then Thomas took over, hitting two foul shots and swishing back-to-back 3-pointers. He took a pass from Lauderdale for another bucket inside, then spun in a reverse layup and ended the run with another reverse move off glass.
"He was hitting open shots. Give credit to him," Crean said. "He made big plays. He's one of the all-time leading scorers in the history of Indiana, so he can score. And today it was his day and we didn't do a good enough job of guarding him."
The Buckeyes led 38-23 at the half, with Thomas totaling 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, his only miss coming on a shot behind the arc.
Indiana never seriously threatened again.
Even though Thomas has seen only sparse playing time the past few weeks, his teammates know he can light it up. He's been known to string together 3s when he gets "warm."
"We see it every day in practice," said David Lighty, who had 11 points for the Buckeyes (27-2, 14-2 Big Ten). "Once he gets it going, there's really no way to stop him -- just try to keep it out of his hands."
Thomas speaks of his scoring ability as if it's a power that overtakes him.
"It's a God-given gift," he said. "I just did what I had to do."
William Buford added 15 points and Jon Diebler had 11 for the Buckeyes, who could ascend to No. 1 next week after top-ranked Duke lost at Virginia Tech on Saturday night. The defeat was Indiana's sixth in a row to Ohio State.
Matta didn't shy away from talk about being No. 1.
"Honestly, it's just something that comes along with it," he said. "The one thing I've always said -- I think I said it in October when you guys asked me about our ranking -- is that we really want to be there in the end."
Sullinger, leading Ohio State in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (9.9), was limited to five points and seven rebounds in just 13 minutes.
The victory helped Ohio State maintain a one-game lead in the Big Ten with two games remaining -- at Penn State on Tuesday night and home against Wisconsin on Sunday. It was Wisconsin that hung the first loss on the Buckeyes on Feb. 12 in Madison.
Verdell Jones III had 14 points for the Hoosiers (12-17, 3-13), who have lost six in a row and remain the only Big Ten team without a road win this season (0-10). They were playing consecutive games against top-10 teams for the first time since 2004 after losing to No. 8 Purdue on Wednesday night, 72-61.
Crean's temper flared when Matta spoke to the officials at the end of the half. Crean made sure he also joined the conversation.
"I don't do it and I don't think coaches should get a free conference with the officials at halftime," he said. "That's happened to us, nothing was done about it, and I wasn't going to stand back and not be a part of that. Whether it's gamesmanship, whatever it is, it's the way that it is. The half is over. The officials are supposed to be leaving the floor, as are the teams, and that didn't happen."
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