COLUMBUS — Urban Meyer and the football seniors got the longest ovation on the eve of "The Game."
The rest of the night belonged to a No. 3 Ohio State men's basketball team that was getting prepared for one of its biggest games of the season.
Deshaun Thomas scored 15 of his 21 points as the Buckeyes rolled to a huge first-half lead on the way to a 91-45 victory against overmatched Missouri-Kansas City on Friday night.
The game was the final tuneup for the Buckeyes (4-0) before their ACC/Big Ten Showdown matchup against No. 5 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday night.
"We know they're a great team," Thomas said of the Blue Devils. "We need to get better. It's going to be a great experience — it's going to be loud and crazy. But we just are going to have to take one thing at a time and stay together down there."
The Buckeyes know that Duke will be ready for them, particularly since Ohio State laid an 85-63 beating on the Blue Devils a year ago in Value City Arena.
"We know we're probably circled on their calendar," said Shannon Scott, who hit career highs with 10 points and 10 assists against UMKC. "We're just going to be there and be ready for them."
Lenzelle Smith, Jr., added 13 points and LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson had 11 apiece as Ohio State experimented with subs for almost the entire second half.
Thomas, who came in averaging 25 points a game, hit 6 of 8 shots from the field including 2 of 3 3-pointers, plus made all seven free throws. He also had eight rebounds. The Buckeyes shot 61 percent from the field.
The game, the first between the Buckeyes and 'Roos, was all but over midway through the opening half.
The Buckeyes scored the first eight points while the 'Roos were missing their initial eight shots from the field.
After UMKC pulled to 20-8, Ohio State ran off 11 of the next 13 points.
The Buckeyes then closed the half on an 18-2 run to build the lead to 53-18. Eight players scored, led by Thomas' 15.