Lenzelle Smith shines as No. 11 Ohio State sweeps Nebraska
Lincoln, NE, United States (4E Sports) – Lenzelle Smith Jr. fired 21 points on a perfect 6-for-6 sniping from the field and DeShaun Thomas added 15 markers as No. 11 Ohio State swept its season series with Nebraska following a 63-56 victory Saturday at Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Smith also buried six of eight attempts from the foul line as the Buckeyes (17-4, 7-2 Big Ten) clinched their fourth straight win even with Thomas struggling from the field.
Thomas, Big Ten’s leading scorer with an average of 20.3 points per game, shot just 6-for-18 from the field and had five rebounds, while Aaron Craft added 14 points for the Buckeyes.
The win improved the Buckeyes’ head-to-head series with Nebraska to 8-2. Nebraska won the last six meetings, including the Jan. 2 Big Ten opener, 70-44.
David Rivers scored 13 points, Dylan Talley had 12 and Ray Gallegos contributed 11 for the Cornhuskers, who dropped to 11-12 overall and 2-8 in the Big Ten after losing three of their last five outings.
Brandon Ubel, who was averaging 12.1 points per contest, was limited to six points on 2-for-10 shooting and had eight caroms and three assists.
Both teams battled toe-to-toe in the first 15 minutes of the opening half before the Buckeyes pulled away with a closing 13-4 run to take a 32-23 lead at the break.
In the second half, Talley hit a triple to cut Ohio State’s lead to 38-32 before the Buckeyes went on a 15-6 blast behind five straight points by Thomas to take a more comfortable 45-34 cushion.
The Buckeyes never stopped as Smith keyed a short 8-4 burst with three foul shots to extend their lead to 53-38 with 2:40 left in the game.
However, the Cornhuskers trimmed the gap to 58-53 after a jumper by Talley and two foul shots by Rivers.
The Buckeyes stood their ground, sinking five foul shots in the last 56 seconds to seal the victory.