UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Ohio State finally got a test away from Columbus and managed to get a win in a hostile environment.
Deshaun Thomas had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the fourth-ranked Buckeyes beat Rhode Island 69-58 in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament in Connecticut on Saturday.
Lenzelle Smith added 15 points and Aaron Craft had 13 points and four assists for Ohio State (2-0), which struggled with the Rams well into the second half.
Xavier Munford had 16 points to lead Rhode Island, which had four players in double figures and trailed by just four at halftime.
"We're going to know a lot more about our basketball team at 6:30 than we did coming into this tournament," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "I think this will be good for our team in terms of growth."
This was Ohio State's first game away from home, and its first on a neutral court.
The Buckeyes had been scheduled to play on Nov. 9 in the Carrier Classic on the USS Yorktown in South Carolina, but that game had to be canceled because of condensation on the court.
So the Buckeyes had played just once, a 22-point home win in the opening game of this tournament last Sunday over Albany.
The Rams were down just six in this one when Craft hit a 3-pointer that bounced around the rim and in with 6:45 left, then stole the ball on the other end of the court.
That led to a technical foul on Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley.
Thomas hit both free throws and the five-point swing gave Ohio State a 55-44 edge, its first double-digit lead of the game, and the Buckeyes held on from there.
"It was exciting to play with a lot of spirit and a lot of fight against a top-five, national-caliber program that has a great chance to play in the Final Four," Hurley said. "Based on where we are as a program, I couldn't be happier with the way we fought, the way we competed."
NO. 17 MEMPHIS 65, SAMFORD 54: Thomas scored 16 and Antonio Barton added 14 for the host Tigers (2-0), who escaped in an opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. Memphis hit all eight of its free throws in the final minute.
NO. 20 NOTRE DAME 78, BYU 68: Jack Cooley had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish (3-1) in the third-place game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York. Eric Atkins hit a 3-pointer that gave Notre Dame a cushion after the Cougars pulled within 63-61 with 4:28 left.
NO. 25 SAN DIEGO ST. 60, MISSOURI ST. 44: Jamaal Franklin scored 15 of his 22 in the first half to put the visiting Aztecs (2-1) up early, and James Rahon hit a key 3-pointer late to stop a rally.
TAMPA 85, PALM BEACH ATLANTIC 74: Callum Townsend came off the bench to score 14 as the host Spartans won their season opener. Vincent Cornu added 13 points for Tampa, which blew it open with an 11-0 run to start the second half.
No. 1 Baylor 82, UT Martin 67: Brittney Griner set an NCAA women's record with her eighth career dunk to help the Bears (3-1) bounce back from their first loss in more than a season at the Rainbow Wahine tournament in Honolulu.
NO. 3 DUKE 84, PRESBYTERIAN 45: Tricia Liston and Haley Peters scored 21 each, and Liston added nine rebounds and four assists and to lead the host Blue Devils in their season opener.
St. JOSEPH'S 50, NO. 5 MARYLAND 49: Chatilla van Grinsven scored 18 as the host Hawks upset the Terrapins (2-1), their first win over a ranked team since 2007.
NO. 6 KENTUCKY 80, HIGH POINT 45: A'dia Mathies scored all of her 17 in the first half to help the host Wildcats (2-1) recover from Tuesday's 85-51 loss at Baylor.
NO. 14 W. VA. 75, S.C.-UPSTATE 45: Bria Holmes scored a game-high 14 off the bench to lead a balanced offense for the host Mountaineers (3-0).
NO. 18 PURDUE 66, SIU EDWARDSVILLE 51: Courtney Moses scored 14 for the visiting Boilermakers (2-0), who shot 53.6 percent in the first half.
NO. 20 OHIO ST. 78, WINTHROP 53: Darryce Moore and Tayler Hill scored 16 each as the Buckeyes (2-1) won their 23rd straight home game, the longest active streak in the Big Ten.
NO. 20 ST. JOHN'S 73, HOFSTRA 47: Nadirah McKenith scored 24 and Shenneika Smith added 18 points and 15 rebounds for the host Red Storm (2-1).
TAMPA 54, P.R.-BAYAMON 48, OT: Illyssa Vivo had 19 points and hit four 3-pointers for the Spartans (4-0), who recovered after blowing a 17-point lead at the Saint Leo Invitational.
SAINT LEO 73, LINDENWOOD (MO.) 66: Teresa Manigrasso had 16 points to lead four players in double figures for the host Lions (3-1).