Ohio State Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft scores against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at The Schottenstein Center.
Greg Bartram/Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored 17 points and LaQuinton Ross added 15 to lead No. 3 Ohio State past Louisiana at Monroe 71-31 on Friday night.
Amedeo Della Valle chipped in with 14 points for the Buckeyes (13-0), who have won their first 13 games in a season for the fifth time in school history (1961, `62, `91 and 2011).
Jayon James led the Warhawks (3-5), who have lost their last four, with eight points.
They hit just 19 percent of their shots from the field (10 of 54) and 17 percent on 3-pointers (3 of 18).
The Buckeyes won each of their first 11 games by double digits. They had far from an easy time of it in their most recent game.
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. dunks against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at The Schottenstein Center.
Down by eight points in the last minute, they went on a 14-3 run over the last 48 seconds to beat Notre Dame 64-61 on Dec. 21 at Madison Square Garden in the finale of the BlackRock Gotham Classic. In that game they scored 17 points in the first 19:12 of the second half and 14 in those last decisive 48 seconds.
Ohio State came into the game fifth in the nation in scoring defense (55.9 points) and 13th in field goal percentage defense (.379).
They went a long way toward padding those numbers while holding the Warhawks to 20 points on 23.3 percent shooting in the opening half.
The game was never in doubt after Ohio State bolted to a 12-0 lead in the opening 4 minutes.
The Warhawks didn’t score until Tylor Ongwae hit a baseline drive at the 15:34 mark.
Ross got things going early with eight of the first 12 points, hitting his only two attempts from the field, including his lone 3, and adding a perfect 3 for 3 at the free throw line.
The lead hovered around 20 for the remainder of the half with the Buckeyes up 41-20 at the break.
The Buckeyes opened the second half the same way they did the first — on a run.
Smith followed a miss and then hit a 3, Shannon Scott hit from behind the arc and Ross hit a jumper and two free throws in another 12-0 run to push the lead to 53-20. Then Marc Loving added a three-point play off a twisting reverse layup to make it 15 straight points.
The Warhawks finally ended a scoring drought of 9:50 when Chinedu Amajoyi hit two free throws at the 10:40 mark for their first points of the second half.
ULM has never beaten a top 5 team, losing its opener at No. 5 Kansas 80-63 on Nov. 8.
The Warhawks’ last win over a ranked opponent came almost exactly 21 years ago, an 87-78 victory over No. 9 Arkansas on Dec. 30, 1992.
Their only previous win over a Big Ten school was a 72-67 overtime victory over Iowa on Nov. 30, 2007.
The game was the final non-conference tuneup for the Buckeyes, who open Big Ten play on New Year’s Eve at Purdue.