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Lamar-Ohio St. Preview

AP - Sports

Jared Sullinger is not expected to miss Ohio State's next game, but the Buckeyes might have been in good shape even if the All-American forward had to sit out.

Deshaun Thomas has provided second-ranked Ohio State with plenty of scoring lately and will try to build on the best performance of his career Tuesday night against Lamar.

Sullinger injured a tendon in his left foot in a 74-66 victory at South Carolina on Saturday, his second game after returning from back spasms. That ailment cost him the chance to play in a pair of contests, including his team's only loss Dec. 10 against then-No. 13 Kansas.

Tests have indicated Sullinger's foot is not broken, and the sophomore has told coach Thad Matta that's he been feeling better each day.

"I'm expecting him to play, just from what he's saying, how much better it felt yesterday than it did on Saturday and how much better it feels today than it did on Sunday," said Matta, who picked up his 200th Ohio State win Saturday.

The Buckeyes (10-1) showed they could manage without their leading scorer and rebounder as Thomas helped them rally from a halftime deficit.

The sophomore forward scored 20 of his 30 points over the final 20 minutes and made 13 of 16 shots. William Buford added 17 points.

"We knew we had to pick it up defensively and offensively when Sullinger went out," Buford said. "We weren't playing to our basketball, playing to our level. We had great leaders and that helped us pick it up."

Thomas had 23 points in an 82-58 win over South Carolina-Upstate on Wednesday and has boosted his scoring average to 15.9. He'll try to continue that strong play while helping Ohio State extend a 31-game home win streak, the second- longest in program history.

The Buckeyes will attempt to add to that run against a Lamar team that's won four straight but was blown out in its only other matchup with a Top 25 team this season.

The Cardinals (8-3) fell 68-48 at then-No. 9 Louisville on Nov. 13 and suffered another loss in overtime at Ohio two days later. They've since won seven of eight.

Mike James had a season-high 26 points in the most recent victory, 87-81 at Rice on Saturday. The senior guard, averaging 13.9 points, shattered a school record last season with 52 off the bench in a 114-62 win over Louisiana College.

Leading scorer Anthony Miles (16.1) added 19 points Saturday with most coming from a 15-of-18 performance from the free-throw line. Lamar converted 37 of 44 foul shots.

The Buckeyes are facing Lamar for the first time. They're 4-0 all-time against members of the Southland Conference.

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