BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Moments after Minnesota had lost for the fourth time in five games, 71-45 at No. 18 Ohio State, coach Tubby Smith was asked if he still felt he had an NCAA-caliber team.

“You lose by 21 (at Iowa) and then this one tonight you get beat up like this it’s not pretty, that’s for certain. That’s not going to sit well with many people who are looking at you and evaluating you,” Smith said. “But I still think we have a very good resume. We’re just going through a tough time right now. This league is pretty good. If you don’t bring it every second, every day and every night, then this is the result.”

The problems for the Golden Gophers (18-9, 6-8 Big Ten) just seem to multiply.

Rodney Williams, hampered by a shoulder injury, returned to the lineup. But rather than reinvigorating the team, he picked up two early fouls, went 0 for 3 in 8 minutes and didn’t score.

On top of that, the Gophers had a season-high 24 turnovers — many of them unforced — and shot just 29.2 percent from the field.

“You get beat bad when you don’t make shots,” Smith said. “It’s a combination of shooting poorly and turning the ball over — that’s a perfect storm for getting beat.”

It was hard to tell from the outcome, but both teams had been struggling. Both had lost three of four coming in and both had been beaten badly on Sunday. Minnesota lost 72-51 at Iowa while Ohio State was getting run out of Kohl Center with a 71-49 beatdown.

But the Buckeyes responded far better.

Deshaun Thomas overcame a slow start to score 19 points and the Buckeyes used a 16-0 second-half run to wallop the offensively-challenged Gophers.

During Ohio State’s 16-0 run, Thomas and Shannon Scott each had six points, with LaQuinton Ross and Evan Ravenel each adding baskets.

By the end of the spurt, the Buckeyes were well in command.

Hollins had 11 points for Minnesota, which surrendered a staggering 26 points on their turnovers. Ohio State also had a 20-2 advantage in fastbreak points.

MINNESOTA (18-9)

Mbakwe 2-5 0-0 4, Williams 0-3 0-0 0, An. Hollins 4-13 2-2 11, Coleman 0-3 0-0 0, Au. Hollins 0-5 5-7 5, Welch 1-2 0-0 3, Ellenson 2-5 0-0 4, Osenieks 2-5 6-6 10, Ahanmisi 0-0 0-0 0, Walker 3-5 1-3 7, Ingram 0-1 1-2 1, Eliason 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-48 15-20 45.

OHIO ST. (19-7)

Thomas 6-16 5-5 19, Thompson 1-6 4-4 6, Williams 2-2 1-2 5, Craft 2-5 1-2 6, Smith, Jr. 2-5 0-0 4, Scott 3-5 4-4 11, Ross 4-9 1-1 10, Rogers 0-0 0-0 0, Ravenel 2-6 0-0 4, Della Valle 2-4 0-0 6, Lorbach 0-1 0-0 0, McDonald 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-60 16-18 71.

Halftime_Ohio St. 29-23. 3-Point Goals_Minnesota 2-15 (Welch 1-1, An. Hollins 1-5, Williams 0-1, Osenieks 0-1, Ellenson 0-3, Au. Hollins 0-4), Ohio St. 7-20 (Della Valle 2-3, Thomas 2-8, Craft 1-1, Scott 1-2, Ross 1-3, Thompson 0-1, Smith, Jr. 0-1, Lorbach 0-1). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Minnesota 39 (An. Hollins 8), Ohio St. 33 (Williams 6). Assists_Minnesota 7 (Coleman, Au. Hollins, An. Hollins, Mbakwe, Osenieks, Walker, Williams 1), Ohio St. 13 (Scott 5). Total Fouls_Minnesota 21, Ohio St. 21. A_16,378.