Matta fires up Buckeyes in big win over Albany

RUSTY MILLER AP Sports Writer Published:

COLUMBUS (AP) -- Late in the first half, with his team trying but failing to create any opportunities, Ohio State coach Thad Matta called a timeout.

"I saw Thad jump off the bench and it looked like he had a 40-inch vertical," Albany coach Will Brown said. "I saw how animated he was. That timeout, obviously, I think that lit a fire under them."

Deshaun Thomas scored 13 of his 19 points in what turned out to be a 17-2 run to end of the half, leading No. 4 Ohio State to an 82-60 victory over the Great Danes on Sunday in the Buckeyes' belated season opener.

The Buckeyes were supposed to play on Friday night against Marquette in Charleston, S.C., aboard the USS Yorktown, but condensation on the court led to that game being canceled.

"When they announced we weren't going to play I looked at some of the crowd and some of the faces and I felt so bad that we didn't get to play," said Lenzelle Smith Jr., who added 18 points. "They go to war for us every day. I was thinking the least we could do was play a game for them."

Instead, the Buckeyes channeled their desire to play into their next game.

"They were itching to play," Matta said.

Thomas, one of the stars of the Buckeyes' Final Four run last season, hit just one of his first seven shots and Ohio State trailed 23-22 late in half. But he asserted himself as the Buckeyes took control.

Matta's angry timeout talk ignited the Buckeyes.

"He just told us to play hard," said Thomas, a junior who had contemplated jumping to the NBA before electing to return to Ohio State. "He said, 'Don't let up.' As a team we just kept saying, 'Boost it up. Let's get (the lead) to 30.'"

Aaron Craft, considered an outside-shooting liability a year ago, hit 5 of 7 3-pointers for a career-high 20 points to go with seven assists.

Asked he was now the Buckeyes' go-to guy on perimeter shooting, Craft cracked, "Could you say that again, please?" Nodding to Thomas and Smith, he added, "These guys didn't hear you."

Craft spent untold hours working on his shot for several months. It paid off in more confidence, not only for him but also by his teammates in Craft's shooting.

"Teammates have to trust me to shoot the ball as well, too," he said. "So throughout this summer and fall, I was trying to get their confidence in me as well. They did a good job of finding me. You get a lot of open shots when guys are driving and kicking (out passes). It's not too difficult to knock down wide-open shots when you've got great players around you."

Smith was 8 of 11 from the field, making both 3s he attempted.

The Buckeyes shot 57 percent from the field (32 of 56) and made 12 of 20 shots behind the arc.

Smith gave Ohio State a 39-25 lead at the halftime buzzer by swishing a 3-pointer from the right wing off a pass from Craft.

Over the last 4:46 of the half during the Ohio State run, the Buckeyes hit 6 of 8 shots from the field to Albany's 0 for 4, didn't have a turnover and outrebounded the Great Danes 6-2.

Ohio State then opened the second half by scoring eight of the first 10 points to take a 20-point lead.

The contest was a first-round game in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.

Mike Black had 20 and Jacob Iati 13 for Albany (1-1).

Top 25

No. 2 Louisville 79, Manhattan 51

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Russ Smith scored 23 points and Peyton Siva added 10 points and 10 assists as No. 2 Louisville pulled away from Manhattan for a season-opening victory on Sunday.

Chane Behanan had nine rebounds and eight points for the Cardinals. They won their ninth straight season opener and beat the Jaspers in the first meeting between the schools since 2002.

The Cardinals won despite continuing woes with their 3-point shooting. They went 8 for 30, with Smith making 4 of 13.

Siva, the Most Outstanding Player in last season's Big East Conference tournament, matched his career high in assists while recording only his second double-double.

Rhamel Brown had 18 points and 15 rebounds for Manhattan. George Beamon, the Jaspers' top scorer, did not play because of an injured ankle.

No. 9 Syracuse 62, No. 20 San Diego State 49

SAN DIEGO -- C.J. Fair and Michael Carter-Williams each scored 16 points and Syracuse blew past San Diego State on the flight deck of the decommissioned USS Midway.

The Orange (1-0) effectively put it away when Fair made a jumper to make it 17-4 with 11:30 to go in the first half. He had nine points at that point.

Syracuse was just too tall and bulky for the Aztecs (0-1), who couldn't crack the Orange's 2-3 zone.

Of the three games on ships this year, this was the only one that was completed. On Friday night, the Marquette-Ohio State game on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C., was canceled and the Georgetown-Florida game on the USS Bataan in Jacksonville was called off at halftime, both because of condensation on the court.

This game was postponed from Friday night due to the threat of rain.

No. 10 Florida 84, Alabama State 35

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Kenny Boynton scored 22 points and Florida cruised past Alabama State.

Florida was supposed to begin the season Friday against Georgetown aboard the USS Bataan, but the game was canceled at halftime because there was moisture on the court.

The Gators led Alabama State 47-9 at halftime, the fewest points Florida has allowed in the first half since the implementation of the shot clock.

Boynton shot 8 of 10 and made all four of his 3-point tries. He also had six rebounds and five assists.

Backup guard Bobby Brown led Alabama State (0-2) with 14 points.

No. 11 North Carolina 80, Florida Atlantic 56

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- James Michael McAdoo had 19 points and 11 rebounds to help North Carolina beat Florida Atlantic.

Reggie Bullock added 16 for the Tar Heels (2-0), who shot 44 percent from both the field and the foul line. Still, North Carolina led by double figures throughout the second half before blowing the game open in the final 7 minutes.

McAdoo entered the season expected to take the lead for UNC after the loss of four NBA first-round draft picks. The sophomore had 26 points and 14 rebounds in the season-opening win against Gardner-Webb, then followed that with an 8-for-17 shooting performance against the Owls (0-1).

Greg Gantt scored 18 points to lead Florida Atlantic, which shot 28 percent and had no other player reach double figures.

The game was an opening-round contest in the Maui Invitational, though it is separate from the tournament rounds in Hawaii.

No. 12 Arizona 82, Charleston Southern 73

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Mark Lyons scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half of his debut for Arizona and the Wildcats escaped with a season-opening victory over Charleston Southern.

The senior transfer from Xavier led five Arizona players in double figures. Solomon Hill scored 14, Brandon Ashley and Nick Johnson 12 apiece and Jordin Mayes 10 for the Wildcats.

Arlon Harper scored 20 and Mathiang Muo 16 for Charleston Southern (0-2). Saah Nimley added 11 points and seven assists for the Buccaneers.

Charleston Southern trailed just 59-57 with eight minutes to play. Hill, on the bench much of the game with foul trouble, re-entered the game and sank a 3-pointer that put Arizona up 62-57 and the Wildcats slowly pulled away from there.

No. 19 Baylor 78, Jackson State 47

WACO, Texas -- Pierre Jackson had 25 points and seven assists for Baylor, and the Bears rolled to a victory over Jackson State.

Jackson, the senior guard named the preseason Big 12 player of the year, scored the game's first five points -- on a free throw, a jumper and a tip-in in the first 3 minutes -- and the Bears (2-0) never trailed.

Cory Jefferson added 14 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots for Baylor. Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince, both freshman post players, had 13 points each. Gathers also had 10 rebounds.

Jeff Stubbs had 15 points to lead Jackson State (0-1).

Before the game, Baylor unveiled a banner for its NCAA regional final appearance last season, when Baylor had a school-record 30 wins.

No. 23 Wisconsin 87, Southeastern Louisiana 47

MADISON, Wis. -- Junior Ben Brust had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Wisconsin scored the first 19 points in a rout of Southeastern Louisiana.

Jared Berggren led the Badgers with 19 points and fellow senior Mike Bruesewitz added 10 in a 13-minute appearance. Bruesewitz cut his lower right leg during practice Oct. 9 and returned Friday.

Redshirt freshman George Marshall, starting at point guard for Wisconsin with junior Josh Gasser out for the season because of a torn knee, hit a 3-pointer 13 seconds into the game to set the tone.

Dre Evans had 13 points for Southeastern Louisiana, which missed its first five shots and committed four turnovers before Todd Nelson's 3-pointer 7:21 into the game.

No. 24 Cincinnati 80, Tennessee-Martin 57

CINCINNATI -- Cashmere Wright scored 16 points and Sean Kilpatrick added 14 as No. 24 Cincinnati cruised to a win over Tennessee-Martin.

Eleven different players scored for the Bearcats. Justin Jackson had 11 rebounds and Cincinnati blocked 10 shots.

Titus Rubles, a junior-college transfer making his Bearcats debut, came off the bench to score eight points and grab seven rebounds.

The game drew 5,728. A couple of miles south, the Cincinnati Bengals hosted the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Big Ten

Purdue 83, Hofstra 54

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Anthony Johnson scored 14 points to help Purdue defeat Hofstra in the 2K Sports Classic.

Sandi Marcius scored 11 points and Ronnie Johnson had nine points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Boilermakers (1-1), who bounced back from a season-opening 70-65 loss to Bucknell. Terone Johnson, who missed the opener with an ankle injury, came off the bench and scored six points for Purdue.

Jimmy Hall scored 17 points and Moussa Kone added 12 for Hofstra (0-2).

Nebraska 66, Southern 55

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Brandon Ubel had 17 of his 21 points in the second half Sunday as Nebraska opened the season with a 66-55 win over Southern in Tim Miles' coaching debut with the Cornhuskers.

Dylan Talley added 17 points and Ray Gallegos had 16 for Nebraska. Ubel also had 12 rebounds.

Derick Beltran led Southern (0-2) with 17 points, and Yondarius Johnson had 13.

Nebraska never trailed, opening up a 9-0 lead in the first five minutes en route to a 31-25 halftime lead.

Southern cut the lead to three on Beltran's 3-pointer to open the second half. Then Ubel took over, scoring seven straight to put Nebraska up 38-28 with his three-point play with 17:35 remaining. Ubel had another three-point play on a layup that gave Nebraska a 16-point lead, its largest of the game, with 9:02 remaining.

MAC

Jacksonville St. 61, E. Michigan 54

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- Brian Williams and Darion Rackley combined to score 12 points in the final 5 minutes to lead Jacksonville State to a nonconference victory over Eastern Michigan.

After Nick Cook's dunk gave the Gamecocks (1-1) a 47-46 lead, Williams, who finished with 16 points, hit a 3-pointer and another basket to make it 52-46 with 2:54 remaining.

Rackley, who led Jacksonville State with 17 points, hit five free throws in the final minute and Williams added two.

The Gamecocks led by 10 points, 36-26, early in the second half before the Eagles (1-1) rallied to take a 44-43 lead with 6:42 left on a jumper by Daylen Harrison, who finished with 14 points.

Derek Thompson, who made four 3-pointers in Eastern Michigan's win over Rochester College in its opener, made two during the Eagles' surge.

Jacksonville State made just 3 of 19 behind the arc in the game.

Ball St. 78, Grambling St. 51

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Jesse Berry scored 17 points and Ball State pulled away in the second half to beat Grambling State 78-51 in the Cardinals' opener on Sunday.

Majok Majok had 12 rebounds and 11 points for Ball State. Three other Cardinals scored in double figures, Marcus Posley adding 12 points and Chris Bond and Zach Fields scoring 10 points each.

Grambling (0-2) was led by Terry Rose with a game-high 22 points. He hit six 3-pointers and was 8 for 14 overall, but the rest of the Tigers were 10 of 32 from the field.

Others

Louisiana-Lafayette 90, Oakland 79

LAFAYETTE, La. -- Elridge Moore made all six of his shots and tallied five steals in Louisiana-Lafayette's win over Oakland.

Bryant Mbamalu also had 15 points, while Shawn Long and Elfrid Payton chipped in 14 points apiece for the Ragin' Cajuns.

Oakland (1-1) led 42-37 at the half, but Louisiana-Lafayette opened the second half on a 14-7 run to help the Ragin' Cajuns take a 51-47 lead with 15:50 left to play.

Moore had six points during the run.

Oakland rallied, cutting the deficit to 54-52, but Moore converted two free throws to spark a 9-3 run for Louisiana-Lafayette and put the game away for good.

Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0) outshot Oakland 57.6 percent (34 of 59) to 45.6 percent (26 of 57) and dished out 17 assists as a team. The Ragin' Cajuns played stifling defense, recording 12 steals and forcing 20 turnovers.

Duke Mondy led Oakland with 30 points.

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