COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In a battle between last season's first and worst in the Big Ten, not much appears to have changed between Ohio State and Nebraska in the conference's hierarchy.
Behind 22 points and eight rebounds from forward Deshaun Thomas, the eighth-ranked Buckeyes beat the Cornhuskers 70-44 in the Big Ten opener for both squads Wednesday night.
After having its season opener to Marquette canceled and losing to Duke and Kansas in its out-of-conference schedule, the Ohio State win was its first against a BCS opponent this season. Meanwhile, Nebraska's blowout loss marks a disappointing start to conference play, which saw the Huskers finish last in the league with a 4-14 record a season ago.
Opening the second half on a 10-2 run, Ohio State (11-2, 1-0) appeared to put the game out of hand by extending its lead to 27 points with 17 minutes remaining. Nebraska (9-5, 0-1) answered with a 7-2 run to shrink the Buckeyes' lead to 12 points but quickly saw any chances of an upset slip away as OSU stretched its lead to as many as 31 points.
Junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 17 points for the Buckeyes on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, including 5 of 7 from behind the three-point arc.
Ray Gallegos scored a team-high 14 points for the Huskers, who were held to 30.4 percent shooting on Wednesday night.
Through its first 20 minutes of Big Ten action this season, Ohio State looked every bit like a three-time defending league champion, taking a 36-17 lead over Nebraska into halftime.
Behind seven points from Thomas, the Buckeyes raced out to an 11-3 lead over the Cornhuskers in the first five minutes. Nebraska never got closer than five points against Ohio State, which held the Huskers to 25.9 percent shooting from the field before intermission.
Thomas led the Buckeyes in scoring in the first half with 18 points. Dylan Talley headed to the locker room as Nebraska's leading scorer with seven points.
NOTES: For the second consecutive game, Amir Williams started at center for Ohio State. The sophomore had six points and five rebounds in 14 minutes in the first half. ... Nebraska starting center Andre Almeida was helped off the court with an apparent lower body injury with 4:21 remaining in the first half and did not return.