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Ohio State vs Rhode Island

Time: 05:00 P.M. EST
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With a game finally under its belt, Ohio State has something to build on heading into a busy weekend.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes look to keep Rhode Island winless Saturday when they open play at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

After its scheduled Nov. 9 opener against Marquette aboard the USS Yorktown in South Carolina was canceled because of condensation on the court, Ohio State finally took the court Sunday and looked a little rusty early against Albany at home. The Buckeyes trailed by a point late in the first half when coach Thad Matta emphatically called a timeout, which was followed by a 17-2 run that led to an 82-60 win over the Great Danes.

"The guys were itching to play a game," Matta said. "Obviously they were more ready against Marquette, but things didn't work out."

Despite the slow start, the Buckeyes shot 57.1 percent, including 12 of 20 from 3-point range. Aaron Craft scored a career-high 20 points with seven assists while preseason All-American Deshaun Thomas scored 13 of his 19 during what proved to be the game-changing run.

Craft, who spent several months working on his shot after shooting 35.9 percent from 3-point range last season, made 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.

"Teammates have to trust me to shoot the ball as well, too," said Craft, who is already considered an elite defensive player. "So throughout this summer and fall, I was trying to get their confidence in me as well. They did a good job of finding me. You get a lot of open shots when guys are driving and kicking (out passes). It's not too difficult to knock down wide-open shots when you've got great players around you."

The Buckeyes, who reached the Final Four last season thanks in part to a defense that limited opponents to 40.7 percent shooting overall and 32.5 from 3-point range, held Albany to 35.6 percent from field. The Great Danes went 6 of 22 from long range.

"Craft is going to be an NBA player for the next 10 years," Albany coach Will Brown said. "He's the best defensive guard in the country."

Ohio State could be in for another big defensive effort Saturday against a Rhode Island squad that has shot 31.3 percent while losing its first two games under first-year coach Dan Hurley. The Rams missed all but one of their 21 3-point attempts during a 69-50 loss at Virginia Tech on Monday.

The Buckeyes are facing Rhode Island for the first time in the semifinals of this event. The winner will face either Seton Hall or Washington in Sunday's championship game.

Forward Nikola Malesevic and guard Xavier Munford are averaging 16.0 points apiece for the Rams, who have lost 23 straight games against Top 25 opponents dating to a 70-63 victory over No. 21 Utah on Dec. 2, 1998.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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College Basketball Current Odds
GameCurrent Line
Ohio State
@ Rhode Island
-21.5
 
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Wisconsin6-118-28
Maryland6-218-313
Michigan6-313-864
Ohio St.5-316-543
Indiana5-315-639
Purdue5-313-885
Iowa4-313-752
Michigan St.4-313-742
Nebraska4-412-898
Illinois3-513-867
Penn St.2-614-790
Rutgers2-610-11104
Minnesota2-713-997
Northwestern1-610-10137
Atlantic 10
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
VCU7-017-34
Dayton6-116-327
Geo. Wash.6-216-546
Rhode Island6-214-565
Davidson5-214-438
St. Bona.4-311-7162
Richmond4-311-988
UMass3-310-972
La Salle3-411-9111
Saint Joes2-58-11185
Saint Louis1-59-10197
George Mason1-56-12182
Duquesne1-76-13249
Fordham0-75-13247

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