Gamecocks run out of gas against No. 2 Ohio State

Deshaun Thomas scored a career-high 30 to help No. 2 Ohio State survive two scares Saturday – one from a pesky South Carolina team and one from star forward Jared Sullinger’s left foot – as the Buckeyes held on for a 74-66 win at Colonial Life Arena.

Playing only his second game after missing the previous two with back spasms, Sullinger left early in the first half with a bruised left foot. Luckily for the Buckeyes (10-1), X-rays did not reveal any broken bones, but he did not return to the game and scored only three points.

With Sullinger out, the Gamecocks (4-6) were able to hang in. They led 33-29 at the half and were up by as many as six in the second half before the Buckeyes reeled off a 12-2 run and didn’t trail again.

Thomas led the rally, going 13 of 16 from the field to pick up the scoring slack left by Sullinger’s early exit. The rest of the Ohio State team combined to shoot 14 of 37.

Malik Cooke scored 21 points to lead the Gamecocks despite suffering a nasty cut above his left eye after he was elbowed. Cooke’s career high is 22.

The win was the 200th at Ohio State for coach Thad Matta, who joins Fred Taylor (297) and Harold G. Olsen (259) as the only Ohio State coaches to reach that plateau.

The Buckeyes were 5 of 15 from 3-point range. Ohio State has made at least one 3-pointer in 272 consecutive games dating to 2004.

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