COLUMBUS, Ohio – When opposing teams scout No. 3 Ohio State, they seldom notice Lenzelle Smith Jr.
Buckeyes coach Thad Matta hopes they keep ignoring him.
Smith scored 19 points and No. 3 Ohio State pulled away early to beat Bryant 86-48 Wednesday night.
I think Lenzelle has been tremendous – nobody’s asked me about him this year, Matta said. But I think he’s playing at a very, very high level of being a complete basketball player.
Smith, a 6-foot-4 senior guard who does a little of everything, hit 6 of 9 shots from the field including half of his four 3-point attempts. He had eight rebounds and three assists.
I put a lot of work into my game offensively over the summer. And my confidence is off the charts, he said. My teammates are stretching the defense and are able to find me wide open. A lot of teams, for some reason, are (not guarding) me and I’m getting great looks at the basket. I’m just driving my legs and trying to get the most arc I can on the ball – and it’s falling.
Amir Williams added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Buckeyes, who rolled from the outset of the early round game in the Blackrock Gotham Classic. It will conclude Dec. 21 with the Buckeyes meeting Notre Dame at Madison Square Garden.
The Bulldogs (6-5) hung around with the Buckeyes for a while, but then went scoreless over the last 5:25 of the first half and watched the Buckeyes close with an 8-0 run to take a 43-23 lead. Ohio State then scored the first five points of the second half before Dan Garvin’s layup ended a drought of 6:40.
By then, it was all over.
Dyami Starks had 16 points for Bryant, which was playing its second game in three nights.
No. 1 ARIZONA 74, NEW MEXICO STATE 48: In Tucson, Ariz., Brandon Ashley scored 15 points and Kaleb Tarczewski added 14 for the Wildcats (10-0).
Daniel Mullings had 18 points to lead the Aggies (7-5).
No. 4 WISCONSIN 78, MILWAUKEE 52: In Madison, Wis., Ben Brust scored 18 points and Frank Kaminsky added 16 for the Badgers (11-0).
Sam Dekker and Traevon Jackson scored 12 points each for Wisconsin. Kyle Kelm scored 17 points to lead the Panthers (9-3), while Matt Tiby added 11.
INDIANA 87, MILWAUKEE 68: In Bloomington, freshman guard Larryn Brooks scored 27 points, and the Hoosiers remained the lone undefeated team in the Big Ten. The 10-0 start for IU is its best since the 1994-95 season.
Canterbury alum and Valparaiso transfer Tabitha Gerardot had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Hoosiers. Sixth-year senior Sasha Chaplin added 16 points, and freshman Taylor Agler stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Milwaukee (2-7) got a double double from senior Angela Rodriguez with 13 points and 10 assists.
SOUTH DAKOTA ST. 82, No. 12 PENN STATE 79: In Brookings, S.D., Megan Waytashek and Steph Paluch scored 18 points apiece for the Jackrabbits (7-4), who squandering a 20-point halftime lead. Ariel Edwards finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 steals and 3 assists for Penn State (6-3).