Slow start costs UMKC vs. No. 3 Ohio State, 91-45

RUSTY MILLER AP Sports Writer Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- There wasn't much for Missouri-Kansas City coach Matt Brown to say.

His 'Roos fell behind early and never got close in losing to third-ranked Ohio State 91-45 on Friday night.

It was a learning experience for a team not accustomed to all the bright lights and big-name players.

"Obviously they're a very good team," he said. "We gave them a lot of early shots. A lot of our kids hadn't been in this situation before, too, with this type of crowd, this type of environment."

The Buckeyes (4-0) had their way in almost every category, shooting 61 percent from the field (31 of 51), forcing 18 turnovers that they transformed into 23 points and continuing to apply pressure as the margin mounted.

"We know that we have another gear in us. We came out with fire," said Deshaun Thomas, who led the Buckeyes with 21 points in just 21 minutes. "When we were up 20 or 30, we kept our foot on the pedal and we didn't stop. That's what we need to do to teams."

The 'Roos (2-3) missed their first eight shots from the field and trailed 8-0. They narrowed the lead to 20-8 only to have the Buckeyes pull away again with an 11-2 run. After UMKC scored six points in just over a minute, Ohio State streaked away again, using its lethal transition game to score 18 of the final 20 points of the half for a 53-18 lead.

The game was never in doubt the rest of the way.

Estan Tyler and Thomas Staton each had seven points to lead the 'Roos, who shot just 26 percent from the field and were outrebounded, 40-30.

Brown elected to look at what the benefits could be for a team that doesn't have a senior starter.

"We're going to have to play a lot of these games at our level. We're going to have to play K-State, we're going to have to play Louisville," he said. "For us, we have two home league games next week. Hopefully, it makes you better and equates to some wins next week."

The 'Roos open Summit League play at home against IUPUI on Nov. 29 and then host Western Illinois on Dec. 1.

Ohio State also used the first meeting with UMKC as a tuneup. The Buckeyes travel to play No. 5 Duke on Wednesday in Cameron Indoor Stadium as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

"We know they're a great team," Thomas said of the Blue Devils (5-0). "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 realize that Duke will be gunning 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.

Brown had hoped to attack the Buckeyes in the middle, where they're still trying to fill in for departed two-time All-American Jared Sullinger, now with the Boston Celtics.

"Obviously, they're a terrific team. Their one weakness right now is inside," he said. "We felt like we could get the ball inside, (but) we had three or four opportunities at 5 to 7 feet from the basket and we came up empty. You can't come up empty 5 feet from the basket."

Ohio State blocked 10 of the 'Roos' shots.

One consolation for UMKC is that they won't be seeing a lot of such athleticism back home.

"We won't see anybody in our league like that," Brown said.

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