COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 21 points and Marc Loving had 15, leading No. 12 Ohio State to a 97-55 victory over North Carolina A&T on Wednesday night.
Shannon Scott added 12 assists, while Kam Williams had 15 points in the second half for the Buckeyes (9-1) in the game played before an announced crowd of 14,585 at Nationwide Arena.
Ohio State hit 69 percent of its shots in the second half to finish at 57 percent (35 of 62) from the field.
Bruce Beckford had 26 points and Arturs Bremers 14 for the Aggies (1-11), who have lost 11 in a row — the last 10 on the road — after opening with a win against Division III Greensboro College.
The Aggies dropped to 0-31 against ranked teams. They have also lost their last 16 road games, dating to Jan. 11, 2014.
The Buckeyes broke out to leads of 10-0 and 17-2 but A&T didn’t wilt. The Aggies scored 12 of the next 18 points to pull to a nine-point deficit.
Ohio State got 18 points off 12 forced turnovers in taking a 39-26 halftime lead, with Russell scoring 13.
The Buckeyes broke out of the gates in a hurry in the second half, scoring 13 of the first 15 points to pull away.
North Carolina A&T: The Aggies have made the NCAA tournament 10 times and have only one win to show for it. But that victory came in the Buckeye state.
A&T had to wait more than 30 years before beating Liberty in 2013 First Four at the University of Dayton Arena on March 19, 2013, for its first NCAA win after nine defeats.
The Aggies made it to the NCAA tournament seven years in a row 1982-88, but had fallen on hard times — piling up 15 consecutive losing seasons — until a late hot streak pushed them above .500 and got them into the opening round of the tournament two years ago.
After the win over Liberty, A&T lost to No. 7 Louisville, 79-48. That was the last time the Aggies had played a nationally ranked team before Wednesday.
Ohio State: The game was played at Nationwide Arena — the downtown home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets instead of Value City Arena on Ohio State’s campus — because the NCAA requires the host school to play one game at each March Madness site.
Nationwide Arena and Ohio State will host second- and third-round games on March 20 and 22, 2015.
The early-season run-through gives game-operations people a chance to check logistics and facilities and plan for the upcoming tournament games.
North Carolina A&T: The Aggies have one more game on a grueling 11-game road trip — at Kent State on Friday night — before returning home to play North Carolina Wesleyan on Nov. 28.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes play another school from the Tar Heel state on Saturday. This time it’s the real Tar Heels. They play No. 24 North Carolina at Chicago’s United Center on Saturday as part of the CBS Sports Classic.
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