9-1, 1-1 Away

Living up to the hype: Oden fuels Ohio State rout

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Greg Oden's hometown fans got one more glimpse of how dominant he can be.

It was every bit as good as they remembered from his high school days.

The freshman center had 14 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in 27 minutes and nearly produced a double-double in the first half as No. 4 Ohio State routed Cincinnati 72-50 on Saturday.

It was the most lopsided victory margin in Wooden Tradition history. The previous record was Cincinnati's 79-59 win over Purdue in 2004.

"When he's out there, they definitely don't want to drive," Buckeyes guard Mike Conley Jr. said. "When he's down low, he makes them think twice."

The Bearcats (7-3) would have been better served by thinking three times.

In Friday's practice, Bearcats coach Mick Cronin continually demonstrated how much chaos Oden could create. The impersonation, however, was nothing like the real thing.

Oden, who played at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, manned the middle impeccably for the Buckeyes, posting up for dunks, making hook shots, pulling down rebounds and daring the Bearcats to challenge him inside. They rarely did, and when Cincinnati's perimeter shooting was off, the game was over.

Bearcat fans had been clamoring for this matchup since Ohio's two most prominent basketball schools last played in the 1962 national championship game, which Cincinnati won.

After Saturday, the Bearcats might be content to sit out the rivalry until Oden leaves Ohio State (9-1).

"We didn't come out and play the basketball we needed to play," Bearcats forward John Williamson said. "It was terrible."

How bad did it get?

Ohio State closed the first half on a 26-2 run, nearly pitching a shutout over the final 9:44.

Cincinnati missed all 13 of its 3-point attempts and shot a miserable 18.8 percent from the field in what was easily its lowest-scoring half of the season. The Bearcats missed five more 3s in the second half before Branden Miller finally made one with 6 minutes left and they finished 2-of-24 from beyond the arc and shot only 26 percent overall.

Cronin was so upset at halftime that Cincinnati stayed in the locker room for all but 28 seconds of the 15-minute intermission as he tried to cajole his team to play harder. Williamson did, finishing with 17 points and 16 rebounds. The rest of the Bearcats did not.

Jamual Warren was the only other player to reach double figures with 13 points.

"They whipped up us every way you can whip a team," Cronin said. "We didn't screen anyone and we didn't post up at all."

The reason was obvious: Oden controlled the middle.

While Ivan Harris had 13 points and Conley finished with eight points, eight rebounds seven assists and no turnovers, Oden was clearly the star attraction.

He finished 6-of-7 from the field despite wearing a heavy wrap on his surgically repaired right wrist. The miss ended a streak of 17 consecutive baskets over three games, eight short of the NCAA Division I record set by Ray Voelkel of American University in 1978.

More importantly, he continually changed shots and forced Cincinnati to shoot from outside.

It was no match against the talented 7-footer, who acknowledged he's not yet 100 percent.

"I've not been playing as much as these guys have," he said. "They've been up and down all year, and I'm just getting started."

At halftime, Oden had 10 points and eight rebounds, and he played so well defensively that the Bearcats didn't dare challenge him.

He also spurred the decisive 26-2 run over the final 10 minutes of the first half by completing a three-point play. When it ended, the Buckeyes led 42-14.

Things didn't change much in the second half.

After Deonta Vaughn scored on a layup to end the Bearcats field goal drought at 9:57, Oden responded with another catch-and-dunk before hitting a 10-foot hook shot make it 46-16.

Then the Buckeyes continued pulling way, building a 35-point lead with 11:42 to go before benching most of their key players.

"I think I was a little surprised how well he played today and then again I'm not because I cannot explain how much he's done," Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "He's putting the time and the work in, and once he gets his right hand back, I think he'll really continue to grow."