COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — D’Angelo Russell and Sam Thompson scored 15 points each and both had dunks during a second-half spurt to lead No. 12 Ohio State past Morehead State 87-71 Saturday.
The victory came in Thad Matta’s 500th game as a head coach.
Amir Williams added 12 points and nine rebounds and Jae’Sean Tate also had 12 points for the Buckeyes (8-1). Corban Collins scored a career-high 22 points and Lyonell Gaines added 14 for the Eagles, who have lost four in a row but didn’t go away easily while shooting 55 percent.
Matta is in his 15th season as a head coach, including a year at his alma mater, Butler, and three at Xavier. His record is 385-115, a .770 winning percentage. His teams have won nine regular-season or conference tournament titles. In his 11 years at Ohio State, the Buckeyes are 283-84 (.771) with five Big Ten regular-season crowns and four tournament championships.
The Eagles shot well early and trailed just 23-20 after the opening 11:20. But the Buckeyes sprinted away by scoring 24 of the next 32 to the buzzer. Russell, who did not score in the first 16 minutes, had seven in the final 4 minutes, including a post-up turnaround to give Ohio State a 47-28 lead at the break.
The Eagles cut the lead to 14 with 10 minutes left but Ohio State regrouped, scoring eight of the next 10, including Thompson’s one-handed slam on an inbounds pass from Shannon Scott and Russell’s breakaway dunk off a long pass from Thompson.
Morehead State pulled within 13 points deficit late in the game.
Ohio State was without backup post player Anthony Lee, who was attending his grandmother’s funeral.
Morehead State: You might remember the Eagles’ last win over a ranked team, a 62-61 NCAA tournament stunner over No. 14 Louisville in 2011 in Denver.
Ohio State: Russell, a 6-foot-5 guard from Lexington, Kentucky, played last year at Montverde Academy in Florida. He came into the game second in the nation among freshmen in scoring at 18 points a game. He is among 50 Division I players on the watch list for the annual Naismith Trophy, presented to the top player in the country.
Morehead State: The Eagles play at Green Bay on Wednesday.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes play two schools from the Tar Heel state next week, hosting North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, not to be confused with No. 21 North Carolina, which they play at Chicago’s United Center on Saturday as part of the CBS Sports Classic.
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