Friday, November 23, 2012 8:15 pm
Thomas leads No. 3 Buckeyes early, 91-45
By RUSTY MILLERAP Sports Writer
The game was the final tuneup for the Buckeyes (4-0) before their ACC/Big Ten Showdown matchup against No. 5 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday night.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 13 points and LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson had 11 apiece as Ohio State experimented with subs for almost the entire second half.
Estan Tyler and Thomas Staton each had seven points for the `Roos (2-3).
The loudest ovation of the night was saved for coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State's football seniors, who were introduced at halftime on the eve of their big showdown with rival Michigan.
Thomas, who came in averaging 25 points a game, hit 6 of 8 shots from the field including 2 of 3 3-pointers, plus made all seven free throws. He also had eight rebounds.
Backup point guard Shannon Scott, the son of former North Carolina and NBA great Charlie Scott, had career highs in both points (10) and assists (10) for the Buckeyes, who shot 61 percent from the field and never were threatened.
The Buckeyes collected their 123rd consecutive home victory against a non-major opponent.
Meanwhile, the `Roos fell to 0-15 in games against ranked opponents and 0-6 against teams from the Big Ten.
The teams had one mutual opponent. The Buckeyes rolled over Albany 82-60 on Nov. 11 while the `Roos lost to Albany 62-59 on Nov. 17. Both of those games were in the Hall of Fame Tipoff, with Ohio State receiving the championship trophy after beating Washington on Sunday.
The game, the first between the schools, was all but over midway through the opening half.
The Buckeyes scored the first eight points while the `Roos were missing their initial eight shots from the field. After UMKC pulled to 20-8, Ohio State ran off 11 of the next 13 points.
The Buckeyes then closed the half on an 18-2 run to build the lead to 53-18. Eight players scored, led by Thomas' 15 points.
One of the loudest cheers of the half came when freshman Amedeo Della Valle, a native of Italy who played high school ball in Las Vegas, tipped a ball away on defense and then knocked down a 3 at the other end for his first collegiate points.
But the biggest roar was saved for Meyer and the football Buckeyes. The fourth-ranked Buckeyes (11-0) play archrival and 20th-ranked Michigan (8-3) on Saturday at Ohio Stadium in the 109th edition of what is dubbed "The Game."
"So far it's been a heck of a year," Meyer said after a lengthy standing ovation.
Linebacker Etienne Sabino spoke before giving way to fullback/linebacker Zach Boren.
"We've been waiting a year to have a rematch with these guys from the Team Up North," Boren said, referring to last year's 40-34 loss to the Wolverines. "We need your help to go out as champions and to go out 12-0. Go Bucks!"
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