UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Deshaun Thomas scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and No. 4 Ohio State beat Rhode Island 69-58 in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament in Connecticut on Saturday.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 15 points, Aaron Craft had 13 points and four assists for the Buckeyes (2-0) who struggled with the Rams (0-3) well into the second half.
Xavier Munford had 16 points to lead Rhode Island, which had four players in double figures and trailed by just four at halftime.
The Rams were down just six when Craft hit a 3-point shot that bounced around the rim and in with 6:45 left and then stole the ball on the other end of the court.
That led to a technical foul on Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley.
Thomas hit both free throws and the five-point swing gave Ohio State a 55-44 edge, its first double-digit lead of the game, and the Buckeyes held on from there.
Rhode Island hit eight of its 17 shots from 3-point range to stay in the game, but was outrebounded by 10.
Rhode Island took an early lead and was up 19-13 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Nikola Malesevic and Andre Malone more than 10 minutes into the game.
Malesevic had seven points when he picked up his second and third fouls in a 12-second span in the first half and his team up 22-17.
Ohio State closed the half on a 7-0 run and led 30-26 at the break. Craft had 10 of his 13 points in the first half.
Malesevic picked up his fourth foul with 16:40 left and Ohio State quickly went up 38-31.
But Rhode Island fought back, and came within two at 38-36 on ally-oop dunk from Mike Powell to Xavier Munford.
Thomas showed his range for the Buckeyes, hitting three of his six shots from behind the arc.
This was Ohio State’s first game away from home, and its first on a neutral court.
Continue Reading: Ohio State tops URI 69-58 in Tip-Off tournament (The Associated Press)