CHICAGO – DeShaun Thomas and Sam Thompson had 19 points apiece, helping No. 10 Ohio State rout Nebraska 71-50 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on Friday night.
The Buckeyes turned a close game into a runaway with an impressive 30-5 spree spanning halftime that included a little bit of everything. LaQuinton Ross connected on three consecutive 3-pointers, Aaron Craft made a couple of nifty passes and Thompson had two jams to go along with a 3-pointer.
Thomas closed it out with a strong reverse dunk that lifted the Buckeyes to a 54-28 lead with 12:01 left. The junior forward flexed and yelled after the big slam led to a celebration on the Ohio State sideline.
Ross finished with 11 points for the Buckeyes (24-7), who have won six straight games and seven of eight overall. They advance to face the winner of the last quarterfinal between Iowa and No. 8 Michigan State.
Bothered by Ohio State’s length and athleticism, Nebraska committed 15 turnovers that led to 21 points for the Buckeyes.
Brandon Ubel had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Cornhuskers (15-18), who advanced with a 57-55 victory over seventh-seeded Purdue on Thursday. Shavon Shields finished with 14 points.
Ohio State went 9 for 17 from 3-point range in its third victory against Nebraska this season. The Buckeyes also beat the Cornhuskers 70-44 on Jan. 2 and won 63-56 at Nebraska a month later.
With their season on the line, the Cornhuskers got off to a fast start and used a 2-3 zone to control the pace for much of the first half. Ohio State eventually settled down and put together a 16-2 run to take a 22-17 lead on a jumper by Lenzelle Smith Jr. with 5:20 left.
Thomas was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 13 seconds remaining and made all three foul shots to lift the Buckeyes to a 28-23 halftime lead. Thomas, an All-Big Ten first team selection, went 6 for 7 at the line in the first half and also had four rebounds and an assist.