No. 11 Ohio State holds off Nebraska
Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Lenzelle Smith had 21 points in No. 11 Ohio State's 63-56 win over Nebraska.
Deshaun Thomas added 15 points and five rebounds, while Aaron Craft contributed 14 points, six assists and six boards for the Buckeyes (17-4, 7-2 Big Ten), who have won four in a row.
David Rivers tallied 13 points and six rebounds to lead Nebraska (11-12, 2-8), which has dropped eight of its last 10 contests.
"What I would call it is a good learning experience to understand the mentality you need to play every night out," Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. "If we can capture that energy and capture that lesson, then we can come out and maybe get over the top next time and make it happen the next time."
Ohio State's margin reached its apex at 15 midway through the second half after Craft sunk two free throws for a 53-38 lead.
Nebraska fought back and went on a 15-5 run to get within 58-53 with 2:40 left. Rivers had six points during the surge and capped it with two free throws.
Brandon Ubel and Andre Almeida missed jumpers before Ubel misfired on a 3- pointer on Nebraska's ensuing touch, which could've brought the Cornhuskers within two with a little over a minute remaining. But Craft and Smith hit four straight foul shots to put the Buckeyes ahead, 62-53, with 25 seconds to go and put the game away.
"We had a couple of careless possessions there that gave them easy baskets and those are things you can't do on the road. We'll take seven points," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.
Ohio State jumped out to an 11-3 lead before Nebraska countered with a 16-6 run to take a 19-17 advantage with 6:42 left in the opening half.
The Buckeyes, though, answered with an 11-0 flurry to seize control of the contest. Thomas and Craft registered three-point plays during the surge, which was capped on LaQuinton Ross' 3-pointer to give Ohio State a 30-19 cushion before heading into the break with a 32-23 edge.
The Buckeyes won their seventh straight game against Nebraska ... Ohio State travels to No. 1 Michigan on Tuesday ... Ohio State went 23-of-28 from the foul line, while the Huskers finished just 4-of-5.
02/03 01:49:17 ET