NICEVILLE, FLA. — Ohio State shot a sizzling 63.6 percent in the second half en route to an 86-56 romp past Santa Clara to win the Emerald Coast Classic championship Saturday at Raiders Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State College.
Forward Jamison Battle led the Buckeyes with a season-high 21 points, including a seas-high five three-point baskets. Guard BruceThornton added 13 points, a career-high seven assists and grabbed a season-high five rebounds.
Ohio State, which moved its record to 5-1, became the first school from the Big Ten Conference to win the Emerald Coast Classic title in the nine year history of the event.
The Buckeyes held Santa Clara to a season low 38.2 percent shooting while scoring 17 points off Broncos turnovers.
The Buckeyes broke away from a 34-26 halftime lead, dominating Santa Clara in the second half, by outscoring the Broncos 52-30.
Guard Adama Bal led Santa Clara with 13 points, while Tyeree Bryan and Carlos Marshall Jr., scored 10 apiece.
The last time the Buckeyes won a true multi-team bracket event was the 2012 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off when Ohio State beat Rhode Island and Washington
The Buckeyes dished-out a season-high 22 assists and shot 52 percent from the floor. Including the win over No. 17 Alabama on Friday night, the Buckeyes shot 53 percent over the two games and made 10 three-pointers in each game.
Zed Key and Felix Okpara dominated inside as they were a combined 9-of-12 from the floor with five dunks. Key finished with 10 points and five rebounds while Okpara had eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Unlike Friday night, the Buckeyes got off to a quick start and led by 24-11 after Battle’s fourth three-pointer of the opening half. Santa Clara clawed back within six on a couple of occasions late in the half, but the Buckeyes led 34-26 at the break. Battle had 16 of his 21 points in the opening half.
The Buckeyes raced out of the locker room on an 8-2 run on the strength of threes from Battle and Gayle Jr. to take a 42-28 lead and force a Santa Clara timeout. The run continued as Okpara and Key took over inside, scoring eight points to shove the lead out to 52-33 with under 12 minutes to play.
The lead grew to as many as 33 points after sophomore Bowen Hardman came off the bench and stroked his first three-pointer of the season.
Ohio State will host Central Michigan Wednesday, while Santa Clara entertains Menlo College on the same day.