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Ex-Buckeye Sorenson dead at 54

CLEVELAND -- Dave Sorenson, who helped Ohio State reach the Final Four in 1968 and later played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA, died of cancer Tuesday at a hospice in Cleveland. He was 54.

He was the starting center on Ohio State's 1968 Big Ten Conference championship team, and his game-winning basket against Kentucky sent the Buckeyes into the 1968 NCAA Final Four.

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him in 1970, and he played 2 1/2 seasons in Cleveland as a 6-foot-8 forward before being traded to Philadelphia. He finished the 1972-73 season with the 76ers before beginning a professional career in Europe.

After his basketball career ended, he became a sales representative for the Converse athletic shoe company. He later worked for the Peterson Nut Co. in Cleveland and was its national sales manager at the time of his death.

Sorenson, a Findlay native, lived in suburban Rocky River.

He led Ohio State in scoring and rebounding as a junior and as a senior. He was an honorable mention All-American as a junior in 1969 and twice was an All-Big Ten Conference player.

He scored 1,622 points and ranks eighth all-time in that category at Ohio State. He is seventh in OSU history in career rebounds with 761.

His career scoring average of 21.1 points per game ranks fifth at Ohio State and his career 9.9 rebounds per game ranks sixth.

He averaged 8.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in 213 NBA games.

''He's one of the two finest young men I have had the pleasure of coaching,'' said his coach at Ohio State, the late Fred Taylor.

''He and John Havlicek combined athletics, campus life, studies and personal conduct better than any players I ever coached at Ohio State.''

He is survived by his wife, Wanda, of Rocky River; his mother, Viola Peterson, of Tiffin; sons, Andrew and Stephen, of Rocky River; and sister, Carroll Campbell, of Tiffin.

The funeral will be Saturday at the Evangelical Freedom Church near Findlay. Arrangements are being handled by the Coldren-Crates Funeral Home of Findlay. The Associated Press