NCAA Game Summary - Ohio State vs. Rhode Island
(Saturday, November 17th)
Final Score: (4) Ohio State 69, Rhode Island 58
Uncasville, CT (Sports Network) - Deshaun Thomas had 25 points and 10
rebounds, and fourth-ranked Ohio State pulled away late for a 69-58 victory
over Rhode Island in a Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic matchup from Mohegan Sun
Lenzelle Smith, Jr. added 15 points and Aaron Craft finished with 13 points
and four assists to help the Buckeyes (2-0) advance to Sunday's championship
game of the Naismith Bracket. Ohio State will face Washington, an 84-73
overtime winner over Seton Hall on Saturday.
Xavier Munford finished with 16 points for Rhode Island (0-3), which had a
seven-point lead late in the first half and trailed by only two with under
13 1/2 minutes left before fading down the stretch.
"It was exciting to play with a lot of spirit and a lot of fight against a
top-5, national-caliber program that has a great chance to play in the Final
Four," said Rams head coach Dan Hurley. "Based on where we are as a program, I
couldn't be happier with the way we fought, the way we competed."
The Rams stood toe-to-toe with the heavily favored Buckeyes early on and
opened up a 22-15 advantage after putting together a 9-2 run that featured
some sharp outside shooting.
Nikola Malesevic began the spurt by knocking down a 3-pointer and Andre Malone
buried a pair of triples within a 35-second span to account for the 7-point
margin with 8:27 remaining in the half.
Ohio State would dominate the rest of the period, however, outscoring Rhode
Island by a 15-4 count to take a 30-26 edge into the locker room.
Eight of Craft's 10 first-half points came during the flurry, which he capped
with a driving layup that followed Smith's long-range basket that put the
Buckeyes up 28-26 with 1:47 to go in the half.
Ohio State appeared ready to break open the contest after Thomas' second-
chance bucket with 14:44 left made the score 38-31, but URI's Mike Powell
drained a 3-pointer before feeding Munford for a fast-break dunk that pulled
the Rams within two a minute later.
Rhode Island was down 44-40 at the 10-minute mark when the Buckeyes finally
began to seize control. An 11-4 run that Thomas ended with two made free
throws after Craft nailed a critical 3-pointer pushed Ohio State's lead to 11
with 6:26 to go, and the Rams would get no closer than nine points the rest of
The Buckeyes put the game out of reach when Smith hit a triple with 2:11 left
and Sam Thompson threw down a dunk around a minute later for a 69-56 score.
"We're just going to mark it down as a win," said Thomas. "We know we're a
team that can get better each and every day."
Ohio State went 8-of-19 from 3-point range for the game after making good on
12-of-20 tries from long distance in its season-opening 82-60 win over Albany
last Sunday ... Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta improved to 4-0 all-time
against Rhode Island, with the first three wins coming during his previous
tenure at Atlantic 10 member Xavier ... Malesevic and Malone each had 11
points for Rhode Island, which has now dropped 20 straight matchups
against top-25 foes. The Rams' last victory over a ranked opponent came on
Dec. 2, 1998, a 70-63 decision over No. 25 Utah in the Great Eight
11/17 23:57:49 ET
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