COLUMBUS, Ohio - Keith Hornsby scored a career-high 26 points for UNC Asheville, but #7 Ohio State had too much firepower as the Buckeyes defeated the Bulldogs 90-72 at Value City Arena Saturday afternoon.
Hornsby electrified the 15,041 fans by going 9-of-12 from the field, 6-of-8 from the three-point line and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. He grabbed five rebounds and had an assist.
Also scoring in double figure for the Bulldogs was Will Weeks with a career-high 14 points. Jeremy Atkinson added 11 points, while D.J. Cunningham contributed nine points, five rebounds and two blocked shots in a return to his home state.
Ohio State had four players in double figures. Sam Thompson had 18 points, while Deshaun Thomas added 17. Lenzelle Smith, Jr. pumped in 16 points, and Evan Ravenel contributed 12.
The Buckeyes (8-1) out-scored Asheville 26-2 in fast-break points.
"The part I was most disappointed in was that we didn't get back on defense," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbah. "We also didn't penetrate into the zone. We also didn't do our job in man-to-man defense. Ohio State is a very good team but they should not be able to do that against us. I was disappointed in the way we played overall, but there were some bright points. I think if we can get together and play consistently, we can win our league and get back to the NCAA [Tournament]."
Biedenbach was pleased with Hornsby's play.
"Keith's coming around. He did a great job getting open and making shots today," commented Biedenbach. "He took good shots and made them. What's great about Keith is he can get better and he's going to."
"Ohio State is the best team we've played this year. We did a lot of good things but not enough against a great Ohio State team," said Hornsby. "They're strong physically but they're also strong mentally with the way they play. We battled hard and had some good stretches. We just need to smooth out some of the rough stretches we had and we'll be a good team. I really like the way we competed today."
Hornsby's 3-ball pulled Asheville within 25-19 at the midway point of the first half, but a 19-11 push gave Ohio State a 44-30 lead with just over three minutes to go.
The teams traded blows the rest of the way and OSU led 50-35 at the break.The Buckeyes used an 18-5 run over the first 5 1/2 minutes of the second half to go up 68-40.
The Bulldogs wouldn't get closer than 18 the rest of the way as Ohio State cruised to the win.OSU shot 59 percent from the floor for the game and forced 17 turnovers.
After allowing Ohio State to get the first 10 rebounds of the game, Asheville battled back and finished even with the Buckeyes on the boards,32-32. The Dogs out-rebounded OSU 21-14 in the second half.
The Bulldogs stay on the road and will play at Northeastern Tuesday afternoon starting at Noon.
Keith Hornsby has scored in double figures in five games. In four of those games, he's scored 21 or more points...D.J. Cunningham blocked two shots to give him 22 for the season and 108 for his career...Jeremy Atkinson has scored in double figures in every game this season...the Bulldogs have 50 blocked shots on the season as a team compared to 88 all of last year...Asheville shot .843 from the free throw line and it marked the third time in the last four games the Bulldogs have been better than 80 percent from the charity stripe.