Dec. 30, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Marc Loving scored 20 points and JaQuan Lyle had 13 assists, and Ohio State pulled away from Minnesota for a 78-63 win on Wednesday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Keita Bates-Diop added 13 points and Jae’Sean Tate 10 for the Buckeyes, who are 9-5 with a five-game winning streak. The Buckeyes had 24 assists, double their season average.

Carlos Morris scored 18 points, Jordan Murphy 11 and Nate Mason 10 for the Golden Gophers (6-7).

Kam Williams came off the bench to score five points to spur a 21-5 Buckeyes run that turned a 45-44 lead into a 66-49 advantage with six minutes to play.

Loving had five points and reserve center David Bell four points during the stretch. Loving, averaging 13.9 points, had a combined 10 points in the previous two games, going 0-for-7 on 3-pointers. He hit 3 of 5 3s against the Gophers.

Minnesota went on a 15-1 run that stretched from the end of the first half and into the second to take a 39-37 lead, its first of the game, when Murphy hit a pair of free throws.

The Buckeyes led by as many as 16 in the first half, saw the margin cut to six then built it to 12 before the Gophers scored 10 of the final 11 points before the break.

The Gophers trailed 26-11 with 9 1/2 minutes left when they mounted their first comeback. They scored nine straight to make it 26-20 but Daniel Giddens completed a 10-4 run with a dunk with two minutes left and the advantage was back to 36-24.

Ahmad Gilbert hit a pair of 3s for the Gophers as they pulled to within three, 37-34, to start the second half.


Minnesota: The Gophers entered their 111th season of Big Ten play. . They lost their previous two conference openers against Michigan and at Purdue. This was the first time Minnesota faced the Buckeyes in the opener since a 49-47 loss in Columbus on Jan. 7, 1982.

Ohio State: This is the 104th season for the Buckeyes in the Big Ten. Coach Thad Matta is 9-3 in conference openers, including 6-1 in Value City Arena.


Minnesota hosts No. 1 Michigan State on Saturday afternoon. The Spartans lost to Iowa, 83-70, on Tuesday.

Ohio State hosts Illinois on Sunday.