LaQuinton Ross scored a team-high 19 points as No. 3/2 Ohio State held off Delaware, 76-64, in the BlackRock Gotham Classic at Value City Arena in Columbus, Wednesday night.
The Buckeyes, who have hit better than 52 percent of their shots in the last five games, could only connect on 40.7 percent from the field in a cold-shooting night. To compound matters, Ohio State committed 13 turnovers with just seven assists in a sloppy game. On a positive note, the Buckeyes did outrebounded the Blue Hens, 46-30.
In the first half, there were eight lead changes and the game was tied on four different occasions. It wasn’t until the ninth lead change that Ohio State took control of the game after a three-pointer from Ross put OSU up 28-26 with 3:15 left until intermission. That ignited a 12-0 run to close out the opening period as Ohio State headed to the locker room with a 37-26 advantage.
In the second half, the Buckeyes led by as many as 16 following a jumper by freshman forward Marc Loving with 9:35 to play. But Delaware didn’t fold up the tent, getting as close as eight after a layup by Devon Saddler made it a 68-60 game at the 1:48 mark.
From there, though, senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored six of Ohio State’s last eight points that includes knocking down all four of his free throw attempts in the final 60 seconds.
For the game, the Buckeyes were 24-of-59 (40.7%) from the field, 6-of-18 (33.3%) from three-point range, and 22-of-32 (68.8%) from the charity stripe. The Blue Hens hit 43.9 percent (25-57) from the floor, 7-of-18 (38.9%) from beyond the arc, and 7-of-15 (46.7%) from the free throw line.
Along with Ross, four others scored in double figures for Ohio State as Smith Jr. added 14, senior guard Aaron Craft chipped in 12, junior center Amir Williams had a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, while sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle scored 10.
Up next, the Buckeyes face Notre Dame in the final game of the Gotham Classic. Tip-off at Madison Square Garden in New York is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET, and it will be televised on ESPN2.