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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - No. 3 Ohio State had reeled off double-digit wins in its first 10 games.
As Delaware's players watched some of the film from those victories, they began to wonder, "What would the Buckeyes do if they were in a tight game?"
They found out on Wednesday night, hanging around for most of the game before falling 76-64.
"That's one of the things that we realized, looking at their past games _ that they really hadn't been in a dogfight," said Jarvis Threatt, who had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Blue Hens (5-6). "We just tried to make it a game and we fell a little short."
LaQuinton Ross scored 19 points, including eight in a decisive 15-0 run in the middle of the game, for Ohio State (11-0), while Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 14, Aaron Craft 12, Amir Williams added 11 points and 12 rebounds and Amedeo Della Valle finished with 10 points.
The Blue Hens led by as many as six points in the opening 4 minutes. They never led after Marvin King-Davis hit a short jumper with 3:31 left in the half to put them up 26-25.
Then the Buckeyes ran off the last 12 points of the half to take a 37-26 lead and then Ross opened the second half by hitting a 3-pointer.
Still, Delaware didn't fold. The Blue Hens twice cut the lead to eight points, the last time at 68-60 with 1:48 remaining on a second consecutive layup by Saddler right down the heart of the lane.
But Smith hit a jumper and two free throws and the game was out of reach.
"Our guys stood toe-to-toe for the most part with who I'm going to call the best team in the country," Delaware coach Monte' Ross said. "I'm just going to say that and I'm going to keep saying that because we played them. I hope they win every game the rest of the way."
Saddler, still rounding into shape after a seven-game disciplinary suspension, had 17 points to lead the Blue Hens, who have lost three straight.
It was their second of three games in six days, all in the BlackRock Gotham Classic. Both teams will be playing in the same final round of the "tournament" at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, with the Blue Hens meeting Bryant and Ohio State squaring off against Notre Dame.
"We played good but there were some things at our own end that we didn't capitalize on for us to pull out the win," said Davon Usher, who had eight points, seven rebounds, a block and a steal for Delaware. "We felt we had a chance to come in here and win but we just messed up on some things on our part."
The Blue Hens hung tough despite being outrebounded 46-30. Ohio State's guards _ Craft and Shannon Scott _ are considered among the best defensive tandems in the country. But the Blue Hens gashed them for 28 points in the paint, mostly on one-on-one drives through the middle of the defense.
"We knew that Delaware has a heck of basketball team," Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "They've got guys who can really score it. They hit some difficult shots, but that's what they do and they're good at it."
The Blue Hens fell to 0-8 against Big Ten teams, 0-17 against Top 10 teams and 0-29 against ranked opponents. The only time the Blue Hens played a higher-ranked team was No. 2 Duke last season.
But this loss certainly wasn't because they were intimidated.
"I told our guys coming in, we couldn't blink," Delaware's Ross said. "It was a terrific environment for college basketball that Ohio State, overstating the obvious, is used to playing in. But our guys didn't shrink from the moment or the atmosphere."
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