After a slow start, Buckeyes blow out Cornhuskers as Della Valle nets 15

Five Buckeyes scored in double figures as sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle contributed 15 points off the bench to lead No. 3 Ohio State over Nebraska, 84-53, at Value City Arena in Columbus on Saturday.

 Lenzelle Smith Jr. #32 of the Ohio State Buckeyes attempts to dribble past Ray Gallegos #15 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the first half on January 4, 20114 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ryan Young/Getty Images)

Lenzelle Smith Jr. #32 of the Ohio State Buckeyes attempts to dribble past Ray Gallegos #15 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the first half on January 4, 20114 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ryan Young/Getty Images)

The Buckeyes got off to a slow start and the game was tied at 19-all with 7:59 left in the first half before Ohio State mounted an 8-0 run to get some separation from the Cornhuskers thanks to a conventional three-point play by freshman forward Marc Loving, a three-pointer from junior forward LaQuinton Ross, and a layup by senior guard Aaron Craft.

Still, the Buckeyes only led by three with 2:28 to go until intermission before Ohio State closed out the first 20 minutes of action by outscoring Nebraska 7-0 to take a 40-30 advantage at the break.

To start the second stanza, OSU used a 16-6 spurt over the next five-plus minutes and after a pair of charity stripe tosses from junior guard Shannon Scott, the Buckeyes led 56-36 with 14:22 remaining. Ross also hit a pair of threes that were part of a 12-0 run during that stretch that helped break the game open.

Nebraska’s Deverell Biggs made a running jumper to halt Ohio State’s momentum and added an additional four points as part of an 8-2 push to cut the deficit to 58-44 with 11:31 to play, but that’s as close as the Cornhuskers would get the rest of the way.

The Buckeyes ended the game on an 8-0 run to win going away as Ohio State took its largest lead of the game following a dunk by junior center Trey McDonald that made the final score 84-53 with 41 ticks on the clock.

Loving chipped in with 13 points in a reserve role, while Scott added 13 points with five assists. Ross finished with 11 points, and junior center Amir Williams netted 10 points for the Buckeyes.

Nebraska shot 21-of-56 (37.5%) from the field, 4-of-15 (26.7%) from three-point range, and 7-of-12 (58.3%) from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Ohio State shot 27-of-50 (54.0%) from the floor, 9-of-19 from beyond the arc, and 21-of-29 (72.4%) from the charity stripe.

Terran Petteway led the way for the Cornhuskers with 15 points and Leslee Smith contributed a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Buckeyes will next face their stiffest test of the season with a trip to No. 5 Michigan State on Tuesday.

“Most importantly, we took care of what we needed to do today.” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said after the game. “The environment Tuesday over there at West Lafayette was probably very similar to what we are going to see this coming Tuesday. Our guys have a great appreciation for how good Michigan State is.”

Tip-off at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on ESPN.