COLUMBUS — Deshaun Thomas overcame a slow start to score 19 points and No. 18 Ohio State used a 16-0 second-half run to beat Minnesota 71-45 on Wednesday night.
The teams came into the night in dire need of a Big Ten win. Both had lost three of their last four, and each was humiliated on the road Sunday. The Golden Gophers (18-9, 6-8 Big Ten) were pounded at Iowa, 72-51, while Ohio State (19-7, 9-5) wasn't a factor over the final 35 minutes in a 71-49 beatdown at Wisconsin.
Shannon Scott added 11 points and LaQuinton Ross 10 for the Buckeyes, who have won the last six meetings with the Golden Gophers overall and the last six in Columbus.
Andre Hollins had 11 points and Oto Osenieks 10 for Minnesota, which had a season-high 24 turnovers and shot just 29 percent from the field (14 of 48).
It was one of the largest margins ever for the Buckeyes in the series, rivaling the all-time biggest difference of 31 in the March 14, 1992, game (94-63).
Thomas had just two points (on 1 of 5 shooting from the field) in the opening 16 minutes. But then he gained his footing and starting making shots.
After producing the points which helped the Buckeyes gain a halftime lead, he started the second half with a 3 from the left wing. He later dropped back behind the line after sitting a pick and took a pass from Craft for another 3 and a 37-28 lead.
Hollins hit a 15-foot jumper from the left side for Minnesota with 16:15 left — but the Gophers didn't have another field goal until Osenieks banked in a short shot with 5:36 left.
During Ohio State's 16-0 run, Thomas and Shannon Scott each had six points, with LaQuinton Ross and Evan Ravenel each adding baskets.
By the end of the spurt, the Buckeyes were well in command.
The first half was a slogfest, with the Buckeyes taking a late 29-23 lead on the shoulders of five consecutive points by Thomas and a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Craft.
Before that, it wasn't pretty for either team.
With the officials calling everything remotely close to a foul, both teams were in the bonus at the 13:55 mark. As a result, both offenses were disjointed and the defenses didn't take many chances for fear of further foul problems.
Minnesota also committed 12 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.