Bruce Thornton and Jamison Battle combined for 51 points and Ohio State withstood a Minnesota rally to defeat the Golden Gophers 84-74 in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Thornton scored 26 points and Battle added 25 in his first game against his former team. Battle made 7 of 12 field-goal attempts, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
Roddy Gayle Jr. added 16 points for the Buckeyes (7-1), who have won six straight games.
Dawson Garcia kept the Golden Gophers (5-3) in the game by scoring 28 of his career-high 36 points in the second half. He also had 11 rebounds for the game.
Garcia’s previous career high was 28 points, which he matched in a game against Ohio State on Jan. 12. He initially set the mark in 2021 when he was at Marquette.
Minnesota trailed by 22 in the first half but methodically chipped away and was down 72-66 with 3:24 left in the game before the Buckeyes got 3-pointers from Battle, Thornton and Gayle for an 81-70 lead with 1:53 remaining.
The first half was a series of runs, with the Golden Gophers scoring eight unanswered points over the final 2:17 to cut the Buckeyes’ largest lead, 42-20, to 42-28 by the break.
Ohio State opened the game on a 14-2 run and later put together an 11-0 surge to go up 30-12 with 8:35 to play until halftime.
Battle is a graduate transfer that spent the past two seasons with the Gophers. He showed no mercy against his former team, nailing a pair of 3-pointers in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the contest.
He had 10 of Ohio State’s first 16 points by the 12:27 mark of the first half but did not score the remainder of the period.
The Golden Gophers had nine of their 13 turnovers in the first half.
–Field Level Media
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