The Ohio State basketball team had to fight through slow starts in each of its first two games. Junior forward Deshaun Thomas wasn’t going to allow it become three.
Scoring in every way imaginable, Thomas tied his career-high with 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the No. 4 Buckeyes to a 77-66 win over Washington to capture the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament title.
Junior point guard Aaron Craft continued to display his new offensive-minded approach by adding 18 points and senior big man Evan Ravenel had a productive all-around game with 12 points and four rebounds.
Thomas got the No. 4 Buckeyes (3-0) started early by scoring the 15 of the Buckeyes’ first 19 points, including the team’s first eight. The junior scored the team’s first eight points and showed his offensive versatility by scoring in a collection of different ways.
While tallying up his impressive point total – the highest he’s had since scoring the same amount in Ohio State’s 78-59 win over Loyola (Md.) in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament – Thomas hit three-pointers, long-ranged two-point jump shots, baseline hook shots and plenty off the offensive glass.
Washington, however, matched Ohio State’s fast offensive start to hold an 18-17 advantage, but the Buckeyes closed out the first half on a 24-13 run. Thomas scored 21 points in the first half, but he didn’t score in the final 5:49 of the first period as the Buckeyes created the separation. OSU led 41-31 at the break.
Ohio State maintained its double-digit lead for much of the second, despite the best efforts of Washington’s C.J. Wilcox, who led the Huskies with 18 points.
Washington got within seven points with just more than nine minutes remaining in the game on a fast break layup by Desmond Simmons, who finished the game with six points, but the Buckeyes had a response for every attempt the Huskies made at making a run.
Check back at BuckeyeSports.com later for a more complete recap of Ohio State's third victory of the season on the hardwood.
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