UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Deshaun Thomas made a case Sunday that he’s ready to be Ohio State’s next star.
Thomas tied a career high with 31 points and led No. 4 Ohio State to a 77-66 win over Washington and the championship of the Hall of Fame Tip Off tournament.
The 6-foot-7 junior from Bishop Luers, who also had eight rebounds, had 21 in the first half as the Buckeyes (3-0) built at 10-point lead and cruised through the second half.
We haven’t played against anyone like him this year, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. He came out, he was on fire. He couldn’t miss anything.
Aaron Craft added 18 points for the Buckeyes, who beat Rhode Island on Saturday.
C.J. Wilcox led Washington (2-2) with 18 points and Abdul Gaddy had 15.
Ohio State led by double digits much of the way and by as many as 17 in the second half. Washington made one run, cutting the lead to 57-50 on a layup by Gaddy midway through the second half, before the Buckeyes stretched it back out.
Thomas, the Buckeyes’ go-to player after the departure of Jared Sullinger to the NBA, scored 11 of his team’s first 13 points. He showed off his versatility by hitting a three-pointer, two jumpers, a layup and a hook shot, and connected on his first nine shots.
When I knocked those first couple down it was on tonight, Thomas said. I felt pretty good and confident. My teammates found me in the right positions.
This was his 14th game with 20 or more points at Ohio State. He also scored 31 last season against Loyola (Maryland).
He came into the game having made seven of his 15 three-point shots. He had 25 points and 10 rebounds in the Buckeyes’ win Saturday over Rhode Island.
EASTERN ILLINOIS 68, IPFW 67: At Ypsilanti, Mich., Sherman Blanford scored 17 points, including the deciding basket with 21 seconds left, as the Mastodons fell in the Ice Man Classic at Eastern Michigan.
Kevin Harden had 22 points for the Mastodons (2-3). Frank Gaines added 15 points for IPFW.
No. 2 LOUISVILLE 80, MIAMI (OHIO) 39: In Louisville, Ky., Russ Smith had a game-high 23 points and Wayne Blackshear added 14 points and six rebounds to lead the Cardinals (3-0).
OKLAHOMA STATE 76, No. 6 N.C. STATE 56: In Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Le’Bryan Nash scored 23 points and Marcus Smart added 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists as the Cowboys won the title game of the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
No. 8 SYRACUSE 88, WAGNER 57: In Syracuse, N.Y., Brandon Triche had 21 points and seven rebounds as the Orange (2-0) won their 23rd straight home game and 34th in a row in the Carrier Dome against nonconference foes.
No. 9 DUKE 88, FLORIDA GULF COAST 67: In Durham, N.C., Mason Plumlee scored a career-high 28 points for the Blue Devils (3-0).
No. 10 FLORIDA 66, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 45: In Tampa, Fla., Kenny Boynton scored 20 points and Will Yeguete scored 11 and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Gators (3-0).
No. 15 CREIGHTON 87, PRESBYTERIAN 58: In Omaha, Neb., Doug McDermott scored 24 points to lead the Bluejays (3-0).
No. 16 BAYLOR 97, ST. JOHN’S 78: In Charleston, S.C., Brady Heslip scored a career-high 29 points as the Bears (4-1) won the third place game at the Charleston Classic.
No. 19 GONZAGA 96, SOUTH DAKOTA 58: In Spokane, Wash., Elias Harris scored 16 points and grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs (3-0).
No. 21 MICHIGAN STATE 69, TEXAS SOUTHERN 41: In East Lansing, Mich., Gary Harris scored 19 points as the Spartans (2-1) won their 36th straight home opener.
No. 22 WISCONSIN 73, CORNELL 40: In Madison, Wis., Jared Berggren and Ben Brust each scored 18 points to lead the Badgers (2-1).
No. 24 CINCINNATI 93, NORTH CAROLINA A&T 39: In Cincinnati, Sean Kilpatrick scored a career-high 29 points, hitting eight shots from behind the arc, to lead the Bearcats (3-0).