Thomas' hot streak carries No. 4 Ohio State, 82-60
- Article by: RUSTY MILLER
- Associated Press
- November 11, 2012 - 3:13 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Deshaun Thomas scored 13 of his 19 points in a 17-2 run to end the half, leading No. 4 Ohio State to an 82-60 victory over Albany on Sunday in the Buckeyes' belated season opener.
They were supposed to play on Friday night against Marquette in Charleston, S.C., aboard the USS Yorktown but condensation on the court led to that game being canceled.
Thomas, one of the stars of the Buckeyes' Final Four run last season, hit just one of his first six shots and Ohio State trailed 23-22 late in half. But he asserted himself as the Buckeyes took control.
Aaron Craft had a career-high 20 points to lead the Buckeyes with Lenzelle Smith Jr. adding 18 and LaQuinton Ross 10.
Mike Black had 20 and Jacob Iati 13 for Albany (1-1).
Craft, considered an outside-shooting liability a year ago, hit 5 of 7 3-pointers to go with seven assists. His previous highest scoring total was 19.
Smith was 8 of 11 from the field, making both 3s he attempted.
The Buckeyes shot 57 percent from the field (32 of 56) and made 12 of 20 shots behind the arc.
Smith gave Ohio State a 39-25 lead at the halftime buzzer by swishing a 3-pointer from the right wing off an assist pass from Craft.
Over the last 4:46 of the half during the Ohio State run, the Buckeyes hit 6 of 8 shots from the field to Albany's 0 for 4, didn't have a turnover and outrebounded the Great Danes 6-2.
Ohio State then opened the second half by scoring eight of the first 10 points to open up a 20-point lead.
Craft and Ross hit 3s to make it 55-33. The lead hovered around 20 the rest of the game.
Sophomore forward Sam Thompson and center Evan Ravenel — the Buckeyes' only senior — started. In Ohio State's only public scrimmage against Walsh, offensive whiz Ross had gotten the starting nod along with 6-foot-11 fellow sophomore Amir Williams. Both saw substantial playing time off the bench.
The Buckeyes wore the same camouflage gray uniforms with scarlet letters they were supposed to wear on the warship.
The contest was a first-round game in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The Buckeyes play subsequent games on Nov. 17-18 in Uncasville, Conn., against Rhode Island and either Washington or Seton Hall, in addition to a home game on Nov. 23 against Missouri-Kansas City.
Albany plays at Washington on Tuesday night.
The Buckeyes are coming off a trip to the Final Four, going 31-8 while winning a share of the Big Ten's regular-season title. Gone from that team is two-time All-America center Jared Sullinger, now starting for the Boston Celtics, and William Buford, who finished his career tied with Jerry Lucas as the third-leading career scorer at Ohio State.
After Marquette and Ohio State had warmed up on Friday night and the game was about to start, it was called off due to moisture on the floor which could have caused injuries. The Buckeyes ended up signing autographs before flying home to get ready for Sunday's game.
Thad Matta improved to 13-0 in openers as a head coach, winning his only one at Butler while going 3-0 at Xavier and now 9-0 at Ohio State.
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap
© 2015 Star Tribune