LINCOLN, Neb.: Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 21 points and No. 11 Ohio State held off a late Nebraska surge for a 63-56 victory Saturday night.
Ohio State (17-4, 7-2 Big Ten) led 53-38 after two free throws by Aaron Craft with 9:05 left. Nebraska (11-12, 2-8) then made its comeback, outscoring the Buckeyes 15-5 and cutting the lead to 58-53 on David Rivers’ free throws with 2:40 remaining.
Following an Ohio State miss, Nebraska’s Brandon Ubel and Andre Almeida each missed shots at the rim and Ubel missed a 3-point attempt. Craft made two free throws with 56 seconds left to put the Buckeyes up seven.
Ohio State won the game at the free-throw line. The Buckeyes made 23-of-28, including all 10 of their first-half attempts. Nebraska was just 4-of-5 from the line.
Ohio State won its third consecutive game and seventh in a row against Nebraska, including all four since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes travel to No. 1 Michigan on Tuesday.
Ohio State established a working margin late in the first half. Trailing 19-17, the Buckeyes went on a 13-0 run capped by LaQuinton Ross’ long 3-pointer with 2:05 left. Ohio State led by nine at halftime.
Nebraska cut the lead to 38-32 on Dylan Talley’s 3-pointer with 15:58 to go. Ohio State then went on a 15-6 run, going up 45-34 on Deshaun Thomas’ short jumper with 13:42 remaining.