Forward Marc Loving scored a career-high 13 points for the Buckeyes on Saturday.
Greg Bartram/Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — LaQuinton Ross scored 11 points, including two 3-pointers as No. 3 Ohio State pulled away, leading the Buckeyes to an 84-53 victory over Nebraska on Saturday.
It was a last tuneup before the biggest test of the season for the Buckeyes (15-0, 2-0 Big Ten), at No. 5 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
Amedeo Della Valley had 15 points, Marc Loving scored a career-high 13, Shannon Scott also had 13 and Amir Williams chipped in with 10 points for Ohio State, which shot 54 percent from the field (27 of 50) and 47 percent on 3-pointers (9 of 19).
Terran Petteway scored 15 points and Leslee Smith had 11 for the Cornhuskers (8-6, 0-2), who have lost 20 consecutive road games to ranked teams since beating No. 22 Texas A&M on Feb. 23, 2008.
Ohio State Buckeyes forward LaQuinton Ross pulls up short in front of Nebraska Cornhuskers forward Walter Pitchford at The Schottenstein Center.
The Buckeyes, leading the Big Ten in scoring defense at 55.1 points a game, limited the Cornhuskers to 38 percent shooting from the field (21 of 56) while forcing 17 turnovers.
Ohio State, up by 10 coming off a surge late in the first half, broke the game open.
Ross hit consecutive 3s to push the lead to 52-46. Williams then muscled in a shot from low on the block and Scott hit two free throws to make it 56-36 with 14 minutes left.
The Cornhuskers never got closer than 14 points again as Ohio State coach Thad Matta substituted freely the rest of the way.
A crowd of 17,536 was subdued for most of the game, perhaps because the Buckeyes football team lost 40-35 to Clemson in the Orange Bowl late Friday night.
Both teams played sloppy, erratic ball for most of the first half before the Buckeyes pulled away late with a 7-0 run.
The Buckeyes had never led by more than eight points and had trailed by as many as five heading into the waning moments of the half.
Shavon Shields slashed across the lane and tossed up a shot that cut Ohio State’s lead to 33-30 with 2:29 remaining. But the Buckeyes’ defense turned up the pressure.
Aaron Craft got things going with a 3 from the right wing at the 1:17 mark — his first made 3-pointer in four games — before Scott’s deflection and steal led to Della Valle tipping in Scott’s missed layup.
Ohio State blocked Nebraska’s final two shots of the half — both by David Rivers — with Trey McDonald batting away the first and Sam Thompson the second. Thompson was then fouled with 2.7 seconds left and hit both free throws to make it 40-30.
The bench provided a 16-4 scoring advantage for Ohio State, with Thompson scoring six points and Loving and Della Valle five each in the first 20 minutes.
Nebraska lost its third straight game and has not beaten a top 5 team on the road since a 67-51 decision at No. 1 Missouri on Feb. 6, 1982. The Cornhuskers fell to 0-12 against ranked teams under coach Tim Miles.
It was the Huskers’ 15th straight loss against ranked teams, dating to a 70-69 home win over No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 18, 2012.
The Buckeyes, who have won 10 of 12 meetings all-time against the Cornhuskers, came into Saturday as one of eight remaining Division I unbeatens.