Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - LaQuinton Ross scored 20 points and fifth- ranked Ohio State cruised to a 76-60 win over Maryland in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup between future conference cohorts at Value City Arena.
Three other Buckeye players finished in double figures and Ohio State (7-0) shot 52.1 percent from the field while leading nearly start-to-finish. Sam Thompson added 14 points to the victory, with Lenzelle Smith Jr. contributing 12 and Aaron Craft registering 10 points along with six assists and five steals.
"We have talked a lot about shooting the ball and I have felt that our shooting percentage in practice was high, so it was good to see it carry over to the game finally," said Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta.
Maryland (5-3), in its final season as an ACC member before its move to the Big Ten, received 19 points from Dez Wells and 15 out of Evan Smotrycz. Charles Mitchell posted 12 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Ross knocked down a pair of 3-point tries during a 9-0 run that staked Ohio State to an 18-9 lead less than 5 1/2 minutes in, and poured in 17 points during a first half in which the Buckeyes were red-hot from the perimeter.
Ohio State hit 6-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc for the opening session. The last two of those makes, back-to-back buckets from Thompson and Amadeo Della Valle, extended the Buckeyes' advantage to 24-12 with 11:29 minutes left in the period.
"They came out making shots and they got a lot of confidence off of that," said Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon. "I thought they executed at a high level."
Maryland whittled the deficit down to single digits near the end of the half, but Ohio State closed with an 8-0 spurt to take a comfortable 43-26 advantage into the break.
The Terrapins never seriously threatened in the second half. Ohio State was ahead by 16 just past the midway mark, then put forth a 12-3 burst to put the contest out of reach. Thompson threw down a dunk with 6:26 left to increase the margin to 68-45 and Craft sank a pair of free throws on the Buckeyes' next possession to make it a 25-point game.
With Ohio State playing most of its bench players, Maryland embarked on a 13-4 push to pull within 74-58 entering the last two minutes but got no closer.
Ross ended two points shy of his career high of 22, set against Northern Kentucky on Dec. 1, 2012 ... The Terrapins were coming off a championship at the Paradise Jam tournament and entered Columbus on a four-game win streak ... Maryland pulled down 19 offensive rebounds, nine of which came from Mitchell, and owned a 44-30 advantage on the glass ... The schools were meeting for the first time since Nov. 30, 1985, a 78-66 Buckeyes' triumph ... Maryland fell to 10-5 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge series, while Ohio State improved to 6-6.
12/04 23:35:56 ET