Columbus, OH – Deshaun Thomas had 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists to lead 10th-ranked Ohio State to an 87-44 win over Chicago State on Saturday.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored 13 points and Aaron Craft had 10 points and six assists for the Buckeyes (10-2), who bounced back from a 74-66 loss to then ninth-ranked Kansas last Saturday.
LaQuinton Ross and Amedeo Della Valle scored 15 and 11 points, respectively, in the triumph.
"It has been a process of getting guys to understand and appreciate what it takes to get your mind ready to play every single minute you take the floor," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta. "From the standpoint of coaching, we just have to keep showing them the film, practicing at an incredible level and seeing improvement every time we take the floor."
Quinton Pippen had 12 points and Nate Duhon added nine for the Cougars (3-12), who remain winless on the road this season.
"We're a much better team than we showed in the second half. That's not to take anything away from Ohio State, who I really believe is a team that can contend for a national championship," said Chicago State coach Tracy Dildy. "They have the caliber of players that can carry this team to the Final Four. This is clearly the best team we've played."
Chicago State led briefly at 12-10 with 13 1/2 minutes to go in the first half, but Ohio State used a 20-5 run to go up 30-17 with just over 11 minutes later.
The teams traded blows the rest of the way and the Buckeyes led 37-24 entering the break.
Ohio State scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second half to stretch its lead to 47-26 with just 2 1/2 minutes gone.
The Cougars cut it to 47-30 a bit later, but a 30-9 sequence from the Buckeyes put the game out of reach.
Ohio State shot 56.9 percent (33-for-58) from the field and held Chicago State to just 26.5 percent (13-for-49) shooting efficiency.
The Buckeyes own a 4-0 advantage in the all-time series ... Ohio State outscored Chicago State, 40-10, in the paint and did not allow a second-chance point ... The Cougars will travel to Toledo on Monday to take on the Rockets before taking on No. 20 UNLV in Las Vegas on Thursday.