Ross, Williams Lead Third-Ranked Ohio State to 76-64 Victory Over Blue Hens in BlackRock Gotham Classic
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State forward LaQuinton Ross score a game-high 19 points while center Amir Williams added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds as the third-ranked Buckeyes held off a pesky effort from the University of Delaware to post a 76-64 men’s basketball victory over the Blue Hens in a BlackRock Gotham Classic game Wednesday night at Value City Arena.
Ohio State remained perfect on the season by improving to 11-0, with all but one of those games taking place in Columbus. Delaware, playing its third top-three ranked team in school history, dropped its third straight game while falling to 5-6 on the campaign.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. chipped in 14 points, Aaron Craft added 12 and Amedeo Della Valle recorded 10 for the Buckeyes, who put five players in double figures. The Blue Hens limited Ohio State to just 40.7 percent shooting from the field, but the Buckeyes held a 46-30 rebounding advantage and went 22 of 32 from the foul line.
Blue Hen senior Devon Saddler (at left) led Delaware in scoring for the second straight game by posting 17 points off the bench, while junior Jarvis Threatt contributed an all-around effort of 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Kyle Anderson had nine points on three triples for Delaware, while Davon Usher chipped in with eight points and seven boards.
Delaware shot 43.9 percent from the floor and knocked down seven three-pointers, but was hurt by a 7 of 15 performance from the free throw line.
“Congratulations to Ohio State, I though they played a terrific ballgame tonight,” said eighth-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. “I thought our guys stood toe to toe with what I’ll say is the best team in the country. We didn’t shrink in what was a tremendous atmosphere, but were uncharacteristic from the foul line. Coming in we realized how good defensively Ohio State is, but our guys are confident and think they can drive to the basket on anybody.”
Delaware jumped out to an early 9-3 lead on a reverse layup by Usher but Ohio State rallied, as the Buckeyes used a 7-0 run to go in front 13-12 on a Ross layup at the 13:03 mark of the first half.
Consecutive three-pointers by Devonne Pinkard and Saddler put the Blue Hens back up three, while a baseline jumper by Marvin King-Davis gave Delaware a 26-25 lead with three and a half minutes remaining. However the Blue Hens would go scoreless the rest of the way, as the Buckeyes scored the final 12 points of the period to take a 37-26 advantage into the break.
A Threatt layup and an Anderson three-pointer made it a nine-point game early in the second half, but Ohio State answered with five straight points to go up 45-31 with 15:50 to play. Delaware got back within 10 when Anderson knocked down another long-range jumper, before the Buckeyes used another five-point surge to take a 55-40 advantage at the 11:36 mark.
After Delaware cut the deficit to nine at 63-54 following an Usher layup with 5:57 to play, the Buckeyes again scored five straight to go back up 14 with 4:25 remaining. The Blue Hens made a final push as Carl Baptiste converted a tip-in before Saddler scored twice, making it a 70-62 game with 1:47 left. But Smith Jr. buried a baseline jumper and added two free throws on the Buckeyes’ next possession to put the game away for Ohio State.
Delaware will look to get back to the .500 mark on Saturday when the Blue Hens face Bryant at approximately 9:30 p..m at Madison Square Garden in their final game of the BlackRock Gotham Classic.
• Ohio State improved to 3-0 all-time vs. Delaware
• Delaware fell to 0-17 vs. Top 10 teams and 0-29 vs. Top 25 teams
• The Blue Hens have lost all eight games to Big Ten opponents
• Monté Ross coached his first game vs. a Big Ten opponent