COLUMBUS, Ohio – A week after shooting as if they were blindfolded, the 10th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes regained their touch.
Deshaun Thomas scored 17 points and four others also hit double digits as they shot 57 percent from the field in an 87-44 victory over Chicago State on Saturday.
When we made our first shot today, I turned to the coaches and said, Hey, we’re 1 for 1. That’s 1,000 percent. This is awesome,’ coach Thad Matta said, smiling. I was pleased with how we shot the ball today.
The game was Ohio State’s first since losing 74-66 to No. 6 Kansas a week earlier. In that game, the Buckeyes played good defense and worked to get open on offense but could not hit shots – even when unguarded. They mustered just 31 percent shooting from the field (20 of 65).
Against Chicago State, they hit 33 of 58 shots from the field including 8 of 17 three-pointers (47 percent).
LaQuinton Ross added 15 points, Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 13, Amedeo Della Valle had a career-high 11 for the Buckeyes (10-2), who complete an eight-game homestand when they host Nebraska in the Big Ten opener on Wednesday.
Thomas said he believed the Buckeyes were ready for the trials of the Big Ten.
Yeah, I think we are, he said. Coach is going to have us ready for the challenge.
No. 2 MICHIGAN 88, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 73: In Ann Arbor, Mich., Trey Burke had 22 points and 10 assists as the Wolverines finished their nonconference schedule with a victory.
Michigan played without junior Tim Hardaway Jr., who missed the first game of his career with an ankle injury. That meant the Wolverines started three freshmen – Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Caris LeVert – along with Burke and Jordan Morgan.
Michigan (13-0) is off to the second-best start in school history.
No. 12 ILLINOIS 81, AUBURN 79: In Chicago, Tracy Abrams scored a career-high 29 points as the Illini survived a late rally.
Illinois (13-1) saw an 11-point lead shrink to one when Frankie Sullivan hit a three for Auburn (5-7) to make it 68-67 with 4:29 left. Illinois then hit 13 of 18 free throws.
The Illini open league play Wednesday at Purdue.
WISCONSIN 87, SAMFORD 51: In Madison, Wis., Mike Bruesewitz returned to the starting lineup in style, scoring a season-high 13 points, one of five Badgers (9-4) in double figures in their nonconference finale.
NEBRASKA 68, NICHOLLS STATE 59: In Lincoln, Neb., Brandon Ubel scored 18 points and the Cornhuskers held on for the victory despite not making a field goal in the final 5:45. The Cornhuskers (9-4) went 10 for 10 from the free-throw line in the final minute.
PENN STATE 84, DUQUESNE 74: In State College, Pa., D.J. Newbill scored a career-high 23 points as the Nittany Lions hung on.