Thad Matta didn't think Trevor Thompson got enough opportunities to score in Ohio State's home loss to Northwestern on Sunday. That changed against Minnesota and the junior center responded.
Thompson poured in a career-high 19 points and snatched 10 rebounds to help the Buckeyes surge past the Gophers 78-72 at Value City Arena on Wednesday night. Ohio State is now 13-8 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten play.
The Buckeyes led by 10 with 7:49 to play before Minnesota's Nate Mason and Amir Coffey teamed up to lead a 10-2 run and make it a one-possession game at the final media timeout. The Gophers could not get over the hump, however, and they only time they led in the entire game came in the first 2 minutes of play.
A running skyhook by Kam Williams in the lane with the shot clock running down made it 72-68 Buckeyes and ended a more than 5-minute field goal drought. Marc Loving nailed a 3-pointer at the 1-minute mark, two free throws with 20 seconds left by JaQuan Lyle and a pair of blocks by Thompson down the stretch nailed down the win.
Ohio State led 40-35 at halftime, though it allowed Minnesota to regain its footing after appearing to seize control through the first 16 minutes. The Buckeyes built their biggest Big Ten lead of the season at 40-23 but failed to score over the final 3:31 and allowed the Gophers to end the half on a 12-0 run.
|24–48 (50%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||25–61 (41%)|
|7–17 (41%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||8–24 (33%)|
|23–30 (77%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||14–20 (70%)|
Prior to the late collapse, Thompson led a terrific offensive start on his way to 12 points in 15 minutes. He served as the catalyst to an 11-0 run early in the first half. Terrific ball movement led to plenty of open looks and the Buckeyes made 10 of their first 16 shots from the field.
Ohio State also went 9-of-9 from the free-throw line in the opening 20 minutes, outrebounded Minnesota and shot 52 percent from the field. Lyle made all three of his 3-pointers for nine points, Loving chipped in eight and Jae'Sean Tate added six.
For the game, Loving matched Thompson's 19 to buoy Ohio State, Lyle finished with 11 and Tate 10. Overall, the Buckeyes shot 50 percent from the field and made 23-of-30 free-throw attempts.
Freshman Andre Wesson scored nine points and made 6-of-7 free throws in 19 minutes, by far his most production in a game this season.
Nate Mason led all scorers with 21 points for Minnesota, while Akeem Springs tallied 15 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Amir Coffey added 11 and Reggie Lynch 10 for Minnesota. The Gophers (15-6, 3-5) have now lost four straight.
Ohio State is next in action on Saturday night at Iowa. Tipoff against the Hawkeyes is set for 8 p.m.