Ohio State took advantage of multiple Minnesota Gophers deficiencies in the opening half, jetting to a 29-21 lead. Deshaun Thomas led all Buckeyes with seven points, while Aaron Craft was the difference maker.
Craft nailed a deep three-pointer at the buzzer to end the half. The junior point guard was also a catalyst in suffocating Andre Hollins as he accounted for three steals.
Unusual would be an understatement in explaining the first half the Minnesota Gophers.
Head coach Tubby Smith and forward Rodney Williams surprised the public by starting Wednesday after being denounced to the bench as a game-time decision. The senior replaced Elliott Eliason in the starting five.
Big man Maurice Walker led the team with seven points and five rebounds at half as fouls and turnovers caused for a different looks for Minnesota.
Within only a few minutes of the game, both Williams and Joe Coleman were sanctioned to the bench after accumulating two fouls each. Both teams accounted for 19 total fouls in the opening half.
The fouls forced playing time for Walker and other usual suspects from the Gophers bench. Oto Osenieks and Hollins added four points each.