Four Buckeyes notched double figures in points led by senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. and junior forward LaQuinton Ross, who both scored 18, as No. 3/2 Ohio State defeated North Dakota State 79-62 as part of the BlackRock Gotham Classic on Saturday at Value City Arena.
Off the bench, junior forward Sam Thompson and freshman forward Marc Loving each added 12 points in reserve roles for the Buckeyes.
With Ohio State leading 31-19 in the first half following a bucket in the paint by junior center Amir Williams, North Dakota State went on a 7-0 run capped off on a jumper from Taylor Braun with 2:55 remaining until intermission that trimmed OSU’s advantage down to 31-26.
But the Buckeyes responded with a 10-2 run of its own that included two three-pointers from Ross and another by Thompson just before the buzzer to put Ohio State up 41-28 at the break.
On the Buckeyes’ first trip down the floor to start the second stanza, senior guard Aaron Craft dished out a dime to Ross for a layup. With that, Craft became Ohio State’s all-time assist leader surpassing Jamar Butler.
Later in the second half, the Buckeyes stretched its advantage to 19 points at 62-43 following a triple from Loving with 9:29 to go, which began a 13-2 run as Ohio State went ahead 72-45 to claim its largest margin of the contest.
Braun led the Bison with 21 points, while Marshall Bjorklund added 12 and Lawrence Alexander chipped in 10.
The Buckeyes shot 52.9 percent (27-51) from the field, their fifth-consecutive game shooting better than 50 percent as a team. Ohio State has not put together a string of five-consecutive games shooting 50 percent or better since Thad Matta took over for the 2004-05 season. The Buckeyes also hit 50.0 percent (10-20) from beyond the arc and was 15-of-21 (71.4%) from the free throw line.
Up next, Ohio State hosts Delaware on Wednesday. Tip-off at Value City Arena is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on BTN.