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Ohio State is tops in Big Ten

February 26, 2007|From the Associated Press

Mike Conley Jr. stepped out of Greg Oden's lengthy shadow at just the right time.

Conley drove the lane and made a runner with four seconds left to give No. 2 Ohio State a 49-48 victory over top-ranked Wisconsin at Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, clinching the Buckeyes' second consecutive Big Ten Conference title.

The game marked the first time Big Ten teams have met in a No. 1 versus No. 2 game.

"I had a feeling I was going to get the ball," said Conley, son of the 1992 Olympic triple-jump gold medalist. "I just went to the hole and it worked out for us."

Alando Tucker, Wisconsin's candidate for conference player of the year, had given the Badgers the lead with just under a minute left when he scored inside off Jason Chappell's pass.

Chappell then blocked a shot by Ron Lewis before Wisconsin's Kammron Taylor was sent to the free-throw line in the bonus situation with 20.3 seconds left. Taylor's first attempt spun off the rim.

After a timeout, the Buckeyes (26-3, 14-1) passed around the perimeter before Conley, a freshman who has spent his career in the shadow of 7-foot high school and college teammate Oden, scissored through the lane and tossed up a soft shot that balanced on the rim before falling.

The Badgers (26-4, 12-3), who lost both games this week after becoming No. 1 for the first time ever, inbounded to Taylor, who drove the length of the court and tried an off-balance 15-footer at the buzzer. Oden got a piece of it before Lewis, a senior playing his final home game, swatted it away.

Ivan Harris led the Buckeyes with 13 points. Oden and Conley each had 11.

Tucker, averaging 20.2 points, was held to 12. Reserve Jason Bohannon was three for three from three-point range and finished with 11 points. Taylor scored 10.

Maryland 89, No. 5 North Carolina 87 -- D.J. Strawberry scored a career-high 27 points, and the Terrapins rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to beat the Tar Heels at College Park, Md., and extend their winning streak to five games.

North Carolina (24-5, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) had a chance to force overtime with 3.5 seconds left, but Brandan Wright missed the first of two free throws and the Tar Heels failed to control the rebound of his second misfire.

Mike Jones scored 18 points and James Gist had 12 for the Terrapins (22-7, 8-6).

Tyler Hansbrough scored 22 points for North Carolina.

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