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OSU Outscraps Gophers for 78-72 win
By John Porentas

COLUMBUS, OH - OSU center Trevor Thompson scored a career-high 19 points and added 10 rebounds to help Ohio State (13-8, 3-5) outscrap Minnesota (15-6, 3-5) at Value City Arena.

Thompson scored 10 of Ohio State's first 18 point to get the Buckeyes off to a fast start and an 18-8 lead just over six minutes into the game. OSU stretched their lead to as many as 17 with just 3:11 remaining in the first half but the Gophers fought back and put together a 12-0 run to end the first stanza down just five at 40-35. 

"He was terrific," said Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino of Thompson's play. 

"He's probably one of the most improved players in the conference in my opinion."

The Gophers definitely seized the momentum with the late run, but the one thing they could not seize the rest of the way was the lead. The Buckeyes slowly rebuilt their lead to eight at 53-48 with just over 14 minutes remaining to play. Back came the Gophers to cut the lead to four at 54-50, but OSU answered once again with an 8-2 spurt to go up 62-52.  

"At one point in the second half I actually told our guys to stop looking at the scoreboard and just play basketball," said OSU head coach Thad Matta explaining how the Buckeyes weathered Minnesota's charge. "All of our emotions need to be positive and we're ok here."

It looked like the Gophers might be done, but instead they came back again, this time closing to with one basket at 68-66 with 4:20 left on the game clock. 

The lead ranged from two to six points the rest of the way but OSU never fell behind. They got a key basket from Kam Williams to go up four, then a step-back jumper from Marc Loving to go up six at 75-69 with under a minute to play.  OSU preserved the lead with free throws from JaQuan Lyle and Trevor Thompson. Thompson also had two blocked shots in the last minute of play.

Free throw shooting has not been an OSU strength this season but they suddenly found their eye in this game. They went 23 of 30 from the stripe for a 76.7 free throw shooting performance that was the difference in the game. 

Marc Loving matched Thompson's scoring with 19 points on six of 10 shooting from the field that included three of five from three point range. He was also four for four from the free throw line. Jae'Sean Tate added 10 points and seven rebounds for OSU. 

Minnesota's Nate Mason scored a game-high 21 points.  Akeem Springs added 15 points to go with 10 rebounds. Amir Coffey added 11 points and Reggie Lynch 10. 

OSU freshman Andre Wesson logged 19 productive minutes with nine points and a strong defensive effort. Wesson was called into increased action to spell guard C.J. Jackson who aggravated a thigh bruise early in the game and was limited to just 25 minutes of action. Despite the injury Williams made a key basket down the stretch to help preserve the win.

"It was fantastic to see the output that Andre had today," said Loving. "He had the opportunity to knock some shots down and he took advantage of that. He played fantastic defense,"

OSU is now off until next Saturday when they take on Iowa at 8:00 PM in Iowa City. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.  The Hawkeyes are currently 11-9 on the season and 3-4 in Big Ten play pending the outcome of their game with Illinois tonight. 

"Iowa is a unique team in that they change defenses and do a lot of different things," said Matta.  "We have to be sharp as we can be when we go there."

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