Local Sports from The Courier
Sunday, December 09, 2012College Basketball: Thomas ignites Ohio State, 89-55
By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS -- Deshaun Thomas had 18 points, including a 3-pointer in an 11-point run in the first half, to lead No. 7 Ohio State past tired Long Beach State 89-55 on Saturday.
LaQuinton Ross had 16 points in a reserve role, Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 14, and Sam Thompson had 13 for the Buckeyes (6-1), who built a 42-point lead before experimenting with different lineup combinations.
Dan Jennings scored 16 points and James Ennis had 12 for the 49ers (3-6), who have dropped three straight. They lost at No. 4 Syracuse 84-53 on Thursday before taking on another top-10 team just over 40 hours later.
Up by 14 at the break, the Buckeyes wasted little time in putting the game out of reach.
Smith made a jumper on the first trip down the floor of the second half and, after a Long Beach miss, he fed Evan Ravenel for a thunderous dunk down the heart of the lane and through traffic.
Thompson then got into the act, driving the baseline for a layup and then throwing down an alley-oop pass from Smith. When Thomas hit a long 3 from in front of the bench, the lead was 50-28. That opened the floor for lots of substitutes.
Ohio State played far from a perfect opening 20 minutes but still built a 39-25 lead, thanks in part to Ross' 10 points and six rebounds off the bench -- in just 10 minutes.
The Buckeyes have had trouble getting much production out of their big men all season, and that problem still exists. Coach Thad Matta will likely be working to fix it while Ohio State plays every game in December at home in preparation for Big Ten play.
Ravenel, Amir Williams and Trey McDonald -- the top three post players -- combined for 13 points, eight rebounds and nine fouls.
The Buckeyes were effective elsewhere. Leading 14-11 midway through the first half, they went on an 11-point run and kept the 49ers scoreless for almost 6 minutes. Ross made two free throws and a perimeter jumper in the spurt.
Matta improved to 79-2 in nonconference home games, and Ohio State's 36th such win in a row.
The game proved to be just another difficult test for the 49ers. Long Beach State's strength of schedule was ranked 38th in the nation before games at Syracuse and Ohio State.
The tough away games are nothing new for former Gonzaga and Minnesota coach Dan Monson's program. The 49ers have played 18 ranked opponents in his six years as head coach, beating No. 9 Pittsburgh and No. 14 Xavier a year ago. They have already played No. 11 North Carolina and No. 10 Arizona, along with unranked Southern California, and will visit UCLA later this month.
Much of the crowd of 14,832 left long before the finish of this one.
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