Bruce Thornton had 26 points, Jamison Battle sank four 3-pointers and scored 25 and Ohio State beat Minnesota 84-74 in an early Big Ten Conference opener on Sunday night.
Thornton sank 8 of 12 shots with a 3-pointer and 9 of 10 free throws for the Buckeyes (7-1), who have won six in a row. He added five assists and three steals. Battle missed just two from beyond the arc and has made at least one 3-pointer in every game this season. He was 7 for 7 at the foul line. Roddy Gayle Jr. hit 2 of 3 from distance and scored 16.
Dawson Garcia scored a career-high 36 for the Golden Gophers (5-3). The junior made 12 of 25 shots, 12 of 14 free throws, and grabbed 11 rebounds for his second double-double this season. Cam Christie had 11 points off the bench and Elijah Hawkins scored 10.
Thornton had 12 first-half points, Battle and Gayle both scored 10 and Ohio State took a 42-28 lead into halftime.
Scotty Middleton hit a 3-pointer to give Ohio State its biggest lead at 54-34 with 15;22 left to play. Minnesota got within six points twice, the final time at 72-66 on a jumper by Christie with 3;24 to go. Battle and Thornton sandwiched 3-pointers around a basket by Garcia and the Buckeyes maintained a two-score lead over the final 2:41.
Ohio State has 91 all-time victories in the series, 30 more than the Gophers. The Buckeyes have won seven of their last eight to up their record in conference openers to 62-47.
Ohio State will host Miami of Ohio on Wednesday before traveling to Penn State for a Big Ten matchup on Saturday. Minnesota will host Nebraska on Wednesday before playing four straight games out of conference.
for more features.