Ohio State runs away from Merrimack

Updated:

Roddy Gayle Jr. tied his career high with 20 points as Ohio State pulled away from Merrimack for a 76-52 victory in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday.

The sophomore guard also scored 20 points against Purdue on March 11.

Jamison Battle had 13 points and Zed Key chipped in with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Buckeyes (2-1), who used a 16-0 run in the second half to put the game away.

Devon Savage led the Warriors (2-2) with 20 points and Bryan Etumnu added 11.

Merrimack was handicapped by the absence of leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Derkack (16.3 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game), who was injured against Maine on Sunday.

A 7:14 scoring drought sealed Merrimack’s fate. Etumnu’s basket 34 seconds into the second half brought the Warriors to within 35-31, but they missed their next nine shots before Adam Clark made a jumper at the 12:11 mark to make it 45-33.

Clark, the current Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week, scored eight points. He had 19 points in the 71-65 win against Maine.

The Warriors clawed their way back to 49-43 before two threes and a jumper from Battle, a trey by Gayle, a putback from Key and triple by Bruce Thornton extended the lead to 65-43 with 5:32 remaining.

Foul shots allowed the Buckeyes to take a 35-29 halftime lead. They were 15 of 20 from the line off 14 Merrimack fouls. The Warriors made 1 of 3 free throws with the Buckeyes committing three fouls.

Even with the large disparity, Merrimack was able to cut a 23-11 deficit to five because the Buckeyes went 7:39 without making a field goal until Gayle’s layup with 39 seconds left in the first half.

Gayle’s 13 points before the break came on 5-of-6 shooting, and he hit both of his 3-point attempts.