COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Deshaun Thomas scored all but one of his 22 points in the first half and No. 7 Ohio State showed its firepower inside and out in beating Savannah State 85-45 on Wednesday night.
LaQuinton Ross added 13 points, Shannon Scott had 12 and Evan Ravenel 11 for the Buckeyes (7-1), who are three games into an eight-game homestand that will carry them all the way through the Big Ten opener against Nebraska on Jan. 2.
Arnold Louis led Savannah State (5-5) with 14 points.
The Tigers came in relying on their stingy defense. They were allowing only 53.0 points a game, with their opponents shooting 37.1 percent from the field.
But the Buckeyes, averaging 78 points, dominated at both ends and scored in transition to pile up a big lead. They hit 10 of 19 shots behind the arc while shooting 48 percent from the field for the game.
The Buckeyes made 7 of 10 3-pointers in the opening half to pull away to an 18-point lead. Thomas led the way, hitting 4 of 6 while scoring an almost effortless 21 points — three more than the Tigers accumulated in the half.
At one point, the Buckeyes had a 15-1 advantage on the boards.
Ahead 5-4, Ohio State held Savannah State without a point for more than 5 minutes while running off nine points in a row. Lenzelle Smith Jr. got it started with a 3, Amir Williams came in and flipped in a hook, Thomas hit a short jumper and Williams added two free throws.
On the heels of that spurt, however, the Buckeyes took off again, scoring 13 of the next 17 points. Thomas tossed in a couple of quick-draw 3s with Ravenel scoring two buckets inside.
Down 42-18 at the break, Savannah State scored seven of the first nine points of the second half but Ohio State started picking up points in transition to stretch the lead, which gradually grew to the final margin.
Scott’s 3 with 12:01 left gave the Buckeyes a 64-31 lead — and also surpassed the most points given up by Savannah State this season. The Tigers gave up 62 points in an 84-62 win over Trinity Baptist. They had limited No. 5 Florida to just 58 points in a 58-40 loss on Nov. 20.
The game served as another tuneup for the Buckeyes who are three games into an eight-game homestand that stretches all the way through the Big Ten opener against Nebraska on Jan. 2. They played three of their first five games on the road, including their only loss — a 73-68 loss at No. 2 Duke on Nov. 28.
The next big target game for the Buckeyes is a showdown on Dec. 22 against No. 9 Kansas, the team that beat Ohio State 64-62 in the national semifinals last spring.
Ohio State improved to 80-2 in non-conference home games in coach Thad Matta’s 10 seasons, winning the last 37.
The game was played before 13,848 at Value City Arena. In Savannah State’s six home games, the total attendance was 6,071.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.