Thomas, Buckeyes thump struggling Minnesota
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Deshaun Thomas led all players with 19 points and No. 18 Ohio State forced 24 turnovers en route to cruising past the slumping Minnesota Golden Gophers, 71-45, on Wednesday at Value City Arena.
Shannon Scott scored 11 points and dished out five assists for the Buckeyes (19-7, 9-5 Big Ten), who bounced back from a double-digit loss at Wisconsin on Sunday. LaQuinton Ross donated 10 points in the only meeting between both schools this season.
"We didn't play perfectly but we kept playing and pursuing the ball," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "In the first half, we made some mistakes but we corrected them. After a win like this I told my players we cannot relax. We have to continue to practice hard and find better ways to win and get better."
Andre Hollins paced Minnesota with 11 points and eight rebounds and Oto Osenieks had 10 points and five boards for the Golden Gophers (18-9, 6-8), who have lost two straight and eight of their last 11 games overall following a 15-1 start to the season.
Both teams shot under 40 percent in the first half and struggled to find any rhythm. The Gophers made just 8-of-24 shots and turned the ball over 12 times, while the Buckeyes connected on just 11-of-29 field goal attempts.
Maurice Walker's layup with 5:20 remaining brought the visitors within 21-18, although their offensive issues continued as the half came to a close. The Gophers totaled five points, as the Buckeyes took a 29-23 lead into the break on Aaron Craft's buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Scott's fast break jumper a little over seven minutes into the second half increased the home team's lead to 41-31. The Buckeyes then took control of the deflated Gophers with eight straight points, capped off by Evan Ravenel's slam with 8 minutes remaining to make it 49-31.
Osenieks' short jumper with 5:38 remaining made it 55-35. It was Minnesota's first basket since the 16:17 mark, ending a drought that lasted 10-plus minutes.
The Buckeyes never looked back and led by as many as 30 points on Amedeo Della Valle's triple with 2 minutes to play.
"We're looking for the leadership within the team to step up," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. "We have five seniors on the team. It's not like we're young or inexperienced, but it seems like we're all playing that way."
The Gophers shot a mere 14-of-48 (29.2 percent) from the floor ... The Buckeyes have won six straight and seven of the last eight meetings in the series ... The Gophers have dropped their last six games on the road ... OSU is 14-2 this season at home ... Thomas needs three rebounds to become 25th OSU player to record 1,000 points or more and 500 rebounds.
02/20 22:23:36 ET