College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Undefeated Syracuse opened their 2011-12 Big East campaign with a trademark, 75-49, victory over Seton Hall in which the Orange deployed coach Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone defense to force 23 turnovers, 17 steals and 15 blocked shots.
Sophomore center Fab Melo collected 10 of those blocks, a school record, to go with his 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting for his first career double-double. The 7-foot Brazilian also added seven rebounds in the rout of the Pirates, which shot just 32% from the field.
Syracuse, ranked #1 in the AP Poll, improved to 14-0. The win was the 870th for coach Boeheim, leaving him in fifth place all time, six behind Kentucky's Adolph Rupp and nine behind North Carolina's Dean Smith.
#2 Ohio State was also opening conference action, theirs the Big Ten, and the Buckeyes responded with an 87-54 trouncing of Northwestern.
The Buckeyes shot 48% while holding the wildcats to 32% shooting for the game. Ohio State made 10 of 20 3-pointers, including 5-for-7 by senior guard William Buford, who led all scorers with a career high 28 points on 9-for-14 shooting.
Sophomore Jared Sullinger tossed in 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Buckeyes held the top two scorers in the conference - John Shurna and Drew Crawford - to a combined 24 points on 9-for-30 shooting.
The 6'6" Buford continues to move up the Buckeye's career scoring leaders list, chasing Dennis Hopson's 2,096. Buford is averaging 16.6 points per game and needs 439 to catch Hopson.
The Buckeyes are 13-1 and favored to capture the Big Ten championship. Their win over Northwestern was the 31st straight time the Buckeyes have downed the Wildcats in Columbus, dating back to 1977.