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Ohio State Pulverizes Detroit

Now Detroit knows how its opponents felt all season long.

The Titans third in the nation in field goal percentage defense, second in scoring defense did not get a point the first 10 minutes as Ohio State raced to a 75-44 victory in the second round of the NCAA South regional Saturday night.

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  • "They were definitely frustrated," said Michael Redd, who matched teammate Scoonie Penn with 15 points each as the fourth-seeded Buckeyes (25-8) advanced to the regional semifinals Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn. They'll play top-seeded Auburn, which beat Oklahoma State 81-74 in the first game at the RCA Dome.

    "It was a credit to our defense," Redd said of the 10-minute shutout of Detroit. "We were trying to shut them down, and you could tell they were getting frustrated."

    Detroit (25-6), the No. 12 seed, missed its first 13 shots and 17 of its first 18. The Titans, who held their opponents to 37 percent shooting and 54.7 points a game for the season, managed 20 percent in the first half as Ohio State jumped ahead 12-0 in the first eight minutes.

    "Never did I think we'd put ourselves in the position we were tonight. We got outstanding defense," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "Neither team had good offensive play in the first half, but we had fine defensive play and in the second half combined it with good offense, which was basically the difference."

    The Buckeyes built their lead to 16 points late in the first period, took a 25-12 lead at halftime and let Detroit no closer than 11 points early in the second half.

    After a 3-pointer by the Titans' Desmond Ferguson made it 29-18, Redd scored for Ohio State, Penn hit a 3-pointer and Brian Brown hit a pair of 3s to push the lead to 40-18. Penn, who also had a career-high 12 rebounds, hit three 3-pointers for the game, giving him a scool record 79 for the season.

    Penn was just 5-for-15 from the field, however, and Redd was only slightly better at 7-for-15.

    "If my shot is not on, I'm not going to be concerned about that," said Penn, a third-team All-American. "I can be a floor leader or a rebounder like I was today, whatever it takes to win."

    The 12 rebounds were two better than his former career best at Boston College and five more than his previous best since he transferred to Ohio State with O'Brien two years ago.

    "We did a tremendous job boxing out," the 5-foot-10 guard said. "And we finally came up against a team that wasn't bigger than we are."

    Detroit's shooting improved in the second half finishing at 30.8 percent for the game but Ohio State continued widening the lead. The final score matched the biggest lead of the game.

    "It was a tough loss for us. We just didn't play well," Detroit coach Perry Watson said. "I wish we had played as well as we could have. It's never great to go out on a loss.

    "Even if you look at the stats at halftime, they weren't burning it up," Watson said. "Even as bad as we were playing, we were still right there."

    The Titans were led by Jermaine Jackson, who had 16 of his 18 points in the second half. Rashad Phillips, who scored the first Detroit basket with 10:11 to go in the first half, added nine points.

    "We got good looks and good shots, but they didn't go down, and they came down and knocked down their shots," Jackson said. "It was hard to come back against a good team like that."

    Ohio State's first-half shooting was nothing to boast about 26 percent but it sure beat Detroit, which couldn't find the basket from the inside or out, or, for that matter, from the free throw line, either.

    The first five shots by the Titans were all missed 3-point attempts. The next five were from inside the 3-point line but with no better success. Three more misses made Detroit 0-for-13 before Phillips' short floater from the middle of the lane gave Detroit its first points and brought a huge cheer from the crowd of 32,758.

    The Titans managed two consecutive baskets only once the entire game, one by Bacari Alexander and then a steal and layup by Jackson that made it 13-6. Four of those first six Detroit points came off Ohio State turnovers, and the Titans twice missed the first of possible one-and-one free throw opportunities in the first half and were just 6-for-12 from the line for the game.

    Ohio State shot 44 percent for the game and outrebounded Detroit 53-26, with George Reese getting 15 boards for the Buckeyes.

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