COLUMBUS - Freshman William Buford from Libbey got his Ohio State career off to an impressive start by scoring 17 points in last night's 90-63 exhibition win over Walsh at Value City Arena.
The three-time City League player of the year had a couple impressive dunks, grabbed four rebounds, and made 8 of 12 shots while tying teammate Evan Turner for scoring honors.
"My teammates were helping me out tonight by giving me the ball when I was in a position to score," Buford said. "It's a big change, coming from high school, but I felt pretty comfortable out there. It was different in a lot of ways, but guys were creating opportunities for me to take advantage of."
The Buckeyes used the transition game to get out in front early, and never really let Walsh get close enough to get excited. When Buford put back a miss by seven-footer and fellow OSU freshman B.J. Mullens, the Buckeyes led 25-16 midway through the first half. A tip-in by Turner helped Ohio State stretch the lead to 45-32 at the half.
Buford got more involved in the scoring and the highlight plays early in the second half when he cut down the baseline and took an alley-oop pass from Turner and slammed it down for a 54-34 Ohio State lead. With about 14 minutes to play in the game, Buford got out on the break and converted another feed from Turner into a dunk.
"He's explosive," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said about Buford. "This is all pretty new to him, but we're trying to get him to understand there's a lot more that he can do."
Mullens and junior David Lighty added 12 points each for Ohio State, while Kyle Madsen had 11 points and eight rebounds. The Buckeyes open the season next Thursday at St. John Arena against Delaware State.
- Matt Markey