Columbus, Ohio –Deshaun Thomas had 18 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, as the eighth-ranked Ohio State topped Nebraska, 70-44, Wednesday evening.
Thomas, a consensus first-team preseason All-American, keyed a pair of first-half runs for the Buckeyes, as Ohio State (11-2, 1-0 Big Ten) used a 16-2 run late in the first half to build a 19-point halftime cushion.
Ray Gallegos was the only Husker to finish in double figures, finishing with 14 points, as the Huskers (9-5, 0-1 Big Ten) shot 30 percent on the night and were out-rebounded 43-32. Dylan Talley was held to nine points, while David Rivers came off the bench for nine points in a losing effort.
The Huskers could not get untracked in the first half, shooting 25 percent from the field, as the Buckeyes surged at the end of the half to take a 36-17 lead. Thomas led the Buckeyes with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the half, while Lenzelle Smith Jr. added eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, before intermission on his way to a 17-point night on 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
The Huskers took an early 3-2 on a Dylan Talley 3-pointer, but the Buckeyes ran off nine straight points, including seven by Thomas, to take an 11-3 lead. Talley ended the drought with a basket before a Brandon Ubel driving basket pulled Nebraska within 11-7. OSU eventually pushed the lead back to 11 points, at 18-7, but Gallegos keyed an 8-2 surge for the Huskers, as his second 3-poiner made it a 20-15 game with 6:44 left in the half.
That would be as close as Nebraska got, as the Buckeyes closed the half on a 16-2 run to take a 19-point halftime lead. Thomas had seven points in the run, but the key play was a Smith 3-pointer after Ohio State got an offensive rebound after a pair of missed Buckeye free throws.
The first-half run was costly in more ways than one, as senior Andre Almeida suffered an ankle injury late in the first half and did not return. Almeida joined Mike Peltz, who did not play because of a knee injury.
Any hopes for a Husker second-half comeback were dashed early, as the Buckeyes opened the half with a 10-2 spurt, keyed by two 3-pointers by Smith, to build a 27-point lead and were in control the rest of the evening.
The Huskers return home Sunday afternoon to take on Wisconsin in the Big Ten home opener. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and fans can purchase tickets for Sunday’s game and the remaining Big Ten home games by visiting Huskers.com or calling 1-800-8-BIGRED.