LINCOLN, Neb. – Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 21 points and No. 11 Ohio State held off a late Nebraska surge for a 63-56 victory Saturday night.
Ohio State (17-4, 7-2 Big Ten) led 53-38 after a pair of free throws by Aaron Craft with 9:05 left. Nebraska (11-12, 2-8) then made its comeback, outscoring the Buckeyes 15-5 and cutting the lead to 58-53 on David Rivers’ free throws with 2:40 remaining.
Following an Ohio State miss, Nebraska’s Brandon Ubel and Andre Almeida each missed shots at the rim and Ubel missed a three-point attempt.
Craft hit a pair of free throws with 56 seconds left to put the Buckeyes up seven.
Ohio State won the game at the free throw line. The Buckeyes made 23 of 28, including all 10 of their first-half attempts.
Nebraska was just 4 of 5 from the line.
Ohio State won its third straight game and seventh in a row against Nebraska, including all four since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes travel to No. 1 Michigan on Tuesday.
Ohio State established a working margin late in the first half. Trailing 19-17, the Buckeyes went on a 13-0 run capped by LaQuinton Ross’ long three-pointer with 2:05 left. Ohio State led by nine at halftime.
Nebraska cut the lead to 38-32 on Dylan Talley’s three-pointer with 15:58 to go. Ohio State then went on a 15-6 run, going up 45-34 on Deshaun Thomas’ short jumper with 13:42 remaining.