Nov. 09, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Shannon Scott scored a career-high 16 points and LaQuinton Ross, also starting for the first time as a junior, had 14 points and a personal-best 11 rebounds to lead No. 11 Ohio State past Morgan State 89-50 on Saturday.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. led the way with 18 points and spurred a first-half spurt for the Buckeyes, who improved to 93-18 in home openers and 89-22 in season debuts.
Much of the drama vanished early after Ohio State scored the first eight points and built a 26-point halftime lead.
Justin Black had 13 points, Ian Chiles 12 and Anthony Hubbard 11 for Morgan State, which was meeting the Buckeyes for the first time.
The Buckeyes are coming off a 29-8 season in which they tied for second in the Big Ten with a 13-5 record.
Coach Thad Matta tipped off his 10th season with the program. He is 251-73 at Ohio State, including a 111-45 record in the conference. His teams have won five Big Ten regular-season championships (2007, `10, `11, `12) and four conference tournament titles (2007, `10, `11, `13). He has a career mark of 353-104 starting his 14th season as a head coach, including stops at Butler, his alma mater, and Xavier.
Ohio State returns four starters: Amir Williams, Aaron Craft, Smith and Thompson. Ross, who blossomed in the NCAA tournament last year as a reserve, is expected to step into the spot vacated by the early departure of Deshaun Thomas, last year's Big Ten scoring leader.
Just as he had in a 93-63 exhibition victory over Walsh last Sunday, Matta brought Thompson off the bench and inserted Scott into the starting lineup. The combination of the quick Scott and physical Craft gives the Buckeyes one of the best pairings of defensive guards in the country.
Morgan State, coming off a 17-15 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, won eight of its last nine games last season under eighth-year coach Todd Bozeman, formerly at California.
The Bears returned several of their top players, including leading-scorer Black (14.2 points per game), Hubbard (11.4) and Chiles, a 7-foot-2 senior (9.3 points).
Scott hit three 3-pointers - a career high for a game - in the first 2:05 to power an 11-2 lead.
Ohio State overcame some expected rough patches. At times, there was a disconnect on offense as the Buckeyes try to figure out who will take the shots and score the points provided by Thomas, who left after his junior year for the NBA draft.
They did not hit a field goal for 4 1/2 minutes during one stretch - then came back to reel off seven points in 90 seconds.
Down just 29-19 after a 3 by Blake Bozeman, the coach's son, at the 6:41 mark, things spiraled out of control for the Bears as the Buckeyes went on a 16-0 run.
Smith hit two 3s and added a layup for eight points, with backup center Trey McDonald adding four points in the surge, which finally ended with 46 seconds left when Dontre Pretlow hit a 3 for Morgan State.
Scott's previous career high was 15 points last season against Kansas. He had 11 at halftime.
WATCH: Thad Matta Press Conference
Buckeyes on the Blacktop Highlights