Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Lenzelle Smith, Jr. had 17 points and seven rebounds to lead third-ranked Ohio State to a 71-31 thumping of Louisiana-Monroe at Value City Arena.
LaQuinton Ross added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Amedeo Della Valle chipped in with 14 points off the bench for the Buckeyes (13-0), who have won 15 straight at home.
Ohio State will open up Big Ten play on Tuesday when it visits the Purdue Boilermakers.
"We have 18 battles coming up and the war is decided in March. From the standpoint of the challenges of that lie ahead, it's what the guys sign up for when they come to Ohio State," said Buckeyes coach Thad Matta on the upcoming start of conference play.
Javon James led the Warhawks (3-5) with seven points. UL-Monroe shot an ice cold 18.5 percent (10-for-54) from the field.
The Buckeyes opened the game on a 12-0 run and led 25-4 after a Smith 3 at the 10:45 mark and Ohio State took a 41-20 lead into the break.
"The story of the game was the first five minutes of the first half. We came out and didn't play hard. We weren't running down the floor hard. We didn't do anything that we worked on or talked about: shoot-around, the pre-game speech, the whole deal," said ULM coach Keith Richard.
The Warhawks were held scoreless over the first 10:40 of the second half and were outscored 30-11 over the final 20 minutes.
Friday marked the first-ever meeting between the two schools ... OSU is off to its best start since the 2010-11 campaign when it started the season 24-0 and went on to lose to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 ... The Buckeyes' bench outscored ULM's starters by a 27-18 margin.