Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - LaQuinton Ross had a game-high 19 points to lead the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes to a 76-64 win over the Delaware Blue Hens as a part of the Gotham Classic.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. netted 14 and Aaron Craft added 12 points for the Buckeyes (11-0), who will face Notre Dame Saturday. Amir Williams contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Devon Saddler scored 17 and Jarvis Threatt added 14 points and nine rebounds for Delaware (5-6), which has lost three straight.
"For the most part, our guys stood toe-to-toe with what I would call the best team in the country," Delaware head coach Monte Ross said.
Delaware opened with a 9-3 run but the Buckeyes came right back with a 10-3 surge that was capped by a Ross layup with 13:07 to play in the first half.
Saddler hit a 3-pointer to tie the game 21-21 with 5:37 to play in the half and Marvin King-Davis knocked down a jumper with 3:31 left to give Delaware the lead.
Ross responded with a 3 to spark a 12-0 outburst to close out the half, giving the Buckeyes a 37-26 lead.
Kyle Anderson nailed a 3-pointer 2:06 into the second half to bring Delaware within nine points. Another Anderson trey with 13:19 to play brought the Blue Hens within 10 at 50-40.
Ohio State fired back with a 10-4 surge to stretch the lead to 60-44 before Threatt halted the run with a jumper. The Blue Hens came back within nine but the Buckeyes scored the next five points and brought the lead to 14. Two Saddler layups with 2:12 and 1:48 to play got the Blue Hens within eight points but that was the closest they came the rest of the way.
"Our experience helped us down the stretch. The plays our upperclassmen made were big-time plays," OSU head coach Thad Matta said.
Amedeo Della Valle add 10 points for the Buckeyes ... Ohio State shot 22-of-32 from the free throw line while Delaware was 7-of-15 ... Delaware is 0-29 against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 in school history and 0-17 against teams ranked in the top 10... The Buckeyes are 3-0 in the series all-time ... With four steals in the game Craft earned sole possession of third place with 276 on the Big Ten career steals list.