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"I had kind of gotten complacent in the spring and summer shooting and I didn't work as hard as I felt I needed to," he said. So he shot 400 or 500 extra shots per night with managers chasing down rebounds.
Matta joked that Sibert's shooting is so much better with the injured hand that even if it required surgery, Sibert would have to play through the pain.
"We're not going to fix it," Matta said, laughing. "We're going to leave it be."
Thomas continued the spurt by hitting a short jumper before Buford nailed a 3 and then made the play of the game. Shurna muscled past the smaller Craft and broke free for a short jumper but Buford went high to block it.
That seemed to set the tone for the rest of the surge. Sibert hit another 3 and Buford followed with a perimeter jumper that was first signaled a 3 but then discounted to a two-point basket after a video review.
The lead never dropped below 11 points again as Ohio State won its 34th straight home game and stayed perfect at home against Northwestern since 1977.
Buford, who came in averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds in five previous games against Northwestern, had 13 points and 7 rebounds at halftime.
Sullinger said Buford has grown into being a leader after remaining quiet for much of his first couple of years on campus.
"Will's doing a great job," he said. "He's more vocal. He's taking on a lot more of the leadership on himself this year."
Sibert said that with an Ohio State team that only has one senior and one junior (backup post Evan Ravenel), Buford has had a profound effect on the younger players.
"We look to Will," he said. "He finds a way to make sure our team stays in rhythm."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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