Sam Thompson scores 16 in 2nd half to help Buckeyes to come-from-behind win over Minnesota

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Sam Thompson scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, leading No. 24 Ohio State back from a 12-point deficit to a 64-46 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night.

The Buckeyes outscored the Golden Gophers 46-18 in the second half.

Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 13 points and Shannon Scott 10 for the Buckeyes (22-6, 9-6 Big Ten), who trailed by 10 at the half and by 12 early in the second half before taking control with a 17-0 run.

Andre Hollins had 13 points and DeAndre Mathieu added 12 for Minnesota (17-11, 6-9), which has lost six of its last eight games to slide off the NCAA bubble. The Golden Gophers beat the Buckeyes 63-53 at home on Jan. 16 by forcing 18 turnovers and grabbing 15 more rebounds.

This time Ohio State won the board battle 35-25 and had only 11 turnovers.

The Buckeyes have won six of seven games in February after a dismal 2-5 mark in January. The win was their seventh in a row in Columbus against Minnesota.

The 19 points was a season high for Thompson, who had not scored in double figures eight games in a row before hitting for 11 in Wednesday night's 76-60 win over Northwestern. The junior came within a point of his career high.

Down by 10 at the break, Ohio State seemed to show some energy early in the second half when Smith drove the lane for a layup and Aaron Craft then stole the ball and converted it into two points at the other end. Amir Williams then got behind the Minnesota defense for a dunk. LaQuinton Ross then blocked a shot at the other end with Craft throwing a long pass to Thompson for a breakaway dunk that excited the crowd, cutting a 12-point lead to 30-28.

Ross then picked up a loose ball, popped in a shot in traffic and was fouled, finishing off the three-point play for a 31-30 lead.

After a Minnesota miss, Smith missed on a drive, but Ross rebounded and scored. Craft then stole the ball from Elliott Eliason along the baseline and raced to the other end, going the distance for a layup to stretch the run to 17-0.

Ross had five points and Craft and Smith each had four in the spurt.

Most of those points came in transition, long before the Golden Gophers could set up their zone defense, which had caused so many problems for the Buckeyes.

Minnesota countered to cut the lead to 38-35 on Andre Hollins' 3 from the right corner, but the Buckeyes didn't slow down.

Thompson then scored the next 10 points for the Buckeyes.

After a three-point play, he hit a 3 from the right corner, then took a long pass off a Minnesota miss and scooped in a left-handed layup. After yet another Gophers miss, Thompson took an alley-oop, backdoor pass from Shannon Scott and slammed it home for a 45-35 Ohio State lead.

That got a capacity crowd of 18,809 to its feet.

After the teams traded points, Williams powered in a shot inside and added the and-one before Thompson took another backdoor lob from Craft for a big dunk and a 52-39 lead.

Minnesota didn't threaten again.

The Golden Gophers led 28-18 at the half, shooting 42 percent (10 of 24) while limiting Ohio State to 27 percent (6 of 22).

They broke out to a 7-0 lead against the listless Buckeyes, with King hitting a shot inside and a 3 to open the scoring.

The Buckeyes countered to tie it, Ross scoring four points and Smith adding a 3-pointer.

After Thompson hit a shot behind the arc with 4:59 left, Minnesota led 17-16 - but the Gophers finished the half on an 11-2 run.

The Gophers scored on five consecutive possessions - Mathieu hit a bucket and two foul shots in the middle of the run - to build the lead to double figures.

King and Hollins each had seven points and Methieu six at the break.

Ross, who was 2 for 5 from the field, was the only Buckeye to make more than one field goal in the opening 20 minutes.

Thompson had three points at the break, hitting 1 of 2 3-pointers with two rebounds and two fouls.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: HTTP://WWW.TWITTER.COM/RUSTYMILLERAP

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