Brian Lester, NCAA.com
Jared Sullinger probably is headed to the NBA next season. But before the Ohio State freshman sensation moves on to the next level, he’s enjoying himself as a dominant big man in the college game.
Sullinger’s latest head-turning performance came against South Carolina on Saturday in a nationally televised game from Columbus, Ohio. All he did was torch the Gamecocks for 30 points and morph into a one-man wrecking crew on the boards, pulling down a career-high 19. The second-ranked Buckeyes bashed South Carolina, 79-57, in front of more than 15,000 rabid fans who are starting to believe a national championship is a very real possibility.
The 19 rebounds is a school record for a freshman. In fact, it’s the second time he has set the record. The first time was against North Carolina A&T, when he tallied 14 boards.
He already holds the points record for a freshman, dropping in 40 in a 75-64 win against IUPUI earlier this month.
Sullinger said he isn’t surprised that he played well against South Carolina. “The scouting report was great,” Sullinger said. “I knew we had to get the ball inside.”
He also took time to point out the reason for his rebounding success. “I key in on rebounding,” Sullinger said. “If I’m not rebounding, then I’m not playing hard. Nineteen rebounds, I was really into the game.”
Sullinger is averaging 18.5 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per outing for the Buckeyes, who have won their first 10 games. Sullinger has been named the Big Ten Player of the Week twice and the league’s freshman of the week four times.
Need to Know
Seattle Pacific has one of the most prolific scorers in Division II on its team. Senior point guard Chris Banchero is pouring in 25.5 points per outing and is coming off one of the best performances in school history.
In an 81-68 win against Dominican at the Dominican Classic in San Rafael, Calif., last weekend, Banchero scored a career-high 42 points, the fourth-highest single-game total in school history.
He has scored 34 twice during his career and has proven he can score against higher-level competition. In exhibition wins against Division I Eastern Washington and Nevada, Banchero clicked for 38 and 33, respectively. The Falcons beat EWU, 87-82, and knocked off Nevada, 84-81.
Cleveland State is one of the early season feel-good stories of college basketball. But the Vikings came up short in their bid to be the first Division I team to win 13 games, falling to West Virginia, 74-63, on Saturday in Morgantown.
The Vikings, off to their best start in school history, got 19 points from Norris Cole but couldn’t avenge last season’s gut-wrenching, final-second 80-78 loss to the Mountaineers.
Cole has played an integral role in the hot start for Cleveland State. He is averaging 21.1 points per outing and has drilled 16 3-pointers. He also has been a solid defensive threat, tallying 29 steals.
Alex Franz delivered under pressure for St. Mary’s (Md.) in a Division III battle against Olivet.
With his team down by two as the final seconds ticked off the clock, the preseason All-American seized the moment by nailing a game-winning 3-pointer in an 82-81 overtime victory. The No. 14 Seahawks trailed by as many as 18 in the second half before capping the rally in dramatic fashion. Franz scored 20 points in the win, the seventh time he has either led or tied for the team lead in scoring.
Corey Joseph drilled a jumper with 1.4 seconds remaining as No. 22 Texas edged North Carolina, 78-76, on Saturday afternoon. Joseph finished with a career-high 21 and redeemed himself after missing a Hail Mary shot a month ago in a 68-66 loss to Pittsburgh. … Spencer Gay scored nine of his 21 points in overtime as he helped Washington University stun No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan, 83-75, on Saturday at the WU Fieldhouse in St. Louis. Gay was scoreless in the first half of a game that featured 13 lead changes and nine ties. The thrilling battle was a rematch of a meeting in the 2010 NCAA Division III tournament, which IWU won, 75-70. … Typically, if you score 40 or more points in a game, your team is going to win. That wasn’t the case for Ohio University’s D.J. Cooper, who finished with 43 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists in a 112-107 four-overtime loss to St. Bonaventure. It was a wild game, to say the least. There were 17 ties and neither team led by more than 10. Cooper’s performance was trumped by the effort of St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson. He scored 44 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out five assists. … Illinois-Chicago was due to win a close game; UIC had lost its past four games, including three by two points or less. The Flames earned one with a stunning 57-54 upset of No. 12 Illinois on Saturday. UIC rallied from an eight-point deficit to end the Illini’s seven-game win streak. Robo Kreps had 15 points to pave the way for UIC, which had not beaten Illinois since 1990. … Life as the defending national champion isn’t easy. Cal Poly Pomona, which won the Division II crown in March, dropped to 2-3 after a 52-46 loss to Montana State-Billings in Phoenix. The Broncos, ranked 15th in the country, shot only 32.1 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers. And while there is a chance the Broncos will fall out of the top 25 this week, it’s no reason to panic. Cal Poly has played in the past two national championship games, and both times it reached the national final without being in the top 25. … Shooting the basketball wasn’t something No. 6 Kansas State did well against Florida on Saturday. The Wildcats were 15 of 56 from the field, and at one point missed 17 consecutive shots in a 57-44 loss at the Orange Bowl Classic in Miami. Kenny Boynton led the 24th-ranked Gators with 15 points.