Ross leads No. 3 Ohio State over Delaware, 76-64
DEC 18, 2013 9:17p ET
Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 14 points, Aaron Craft had 12, Amir Williams had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Amedeo Della Valle added 10 points for the Buckeyes (11-0), who have won every game by double figures.
Devon Saddler, still rounding into shape after a seven-game disciplinary suspension, had 17 points and Jarvis Threatt added 14 for the Blue Hens (5-6), who have lost three straight. It was their second of three games in six days, all in the BlackRock Gotham Classic.
Both teams will be playing in the same five-team "tournament" at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, with the Blue Hens meeting Bryant and Ohio State squaring off against Notre Dame.
Ross hit 8 of 13 shots from the field including both of his 3-point attempts.
It was a surprisingly cold shooting night for the Buckeyes, who had made at least 52 percent of their field goal attempts in each of the last five games to match the longest such streak since 1991-92. They were 24 of 59 from the field (41 percent).
Up by 11 points at halftime and riding a 12-0 run, the Buckeyes added to their lead when Ross hit a 3 to open the second half.
The Blue Hens got as close as eight points twice, although the lead was never really in doubt.
They were still hanging around at 50-40 when Ross flipped in a half-hook off an offensive rebound and Della Valle hit a 3-pointer from the left corner. Moments later, Della Valle swished another 3 from the right elbow to make it 60-44 with 10:28 remaining.
Delaware cut it to 63-54 on Davon Usher's layup with 6 minutes left before Williams hit a free throw, Smith made two free throws and Ross bumped his way into the lane for a basket to make it 68-54 with just over 3 minutes remaining.
Consecutive layups by Saddler cut the lead to 68-60 with 1:48 left, but Smith hit a jumper and two free throws to put the game out of reach.
The first half was a struggle for the Buckeyes.
Not until they went on a 12-0 run over the final 3:30 did they take command. Ross led the assault with a 3-pointer that lit the match on the run and later added a finger-roll layup in transition after a steal by Craft.
Craft added the last two points of the half after Delaware coach Monte' Ross was whistled for a technical with 4.2 seconds left for a 37-26 lead.
Ross had 11 at halftime, Williams nine and Craft eight.
But the Buckeyes made just 39 percent of their shots from the field (13 of 33), including 2 of 7 3-pointers (29 percent). The Blue Hens mixed defenses against Ohio State, occasionally matching up and at other times playing zone.
Delaware, which came in with three players averaging at least 15 points a game, didn't have anyone over six points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Blue Hens fell to 0-8 against Big Ten teams and 0-17 against Top 10 teams and 0-29 against ranked opponents. The only time the Blue Hens played a higher-ranked team was No. 2 Duke last season.
Ohio State won its first 11 games twice before under coach Thad Matta: in 2005-06, when it started 11-0, and 2010-11, when it won its first 24 games.