COLUMBUS, Ohio - Amir Williams scored a career-high 16 points and Shannon Scott added 13 to lead No. 8 Ohio State to a 63-52 victory against American University on Wednesday night.
The Buckeyes (4-0) struggled all night to make shots, finishing 20 of 56 from the field for 36 percent.
Scott tied a career best with nine rebounds.
American’s Kyle Kager, right, steals the ball from Ohio State’s Lenzelle Smith on Wednesday.
Jesse Reed scored 15 points, Tony Wroblicky had 14 and Darius Gardner 10 for the Eagles (1-2).
The Buckeyes were coming off an impressive 52-35 win over No. 17 Marquette in Milwaukee on Saturday. The 35 points were the fewest the Buckeyes have ever allowed against a ranked opponent.
Up by five points at the break Wednesday despite having difficulty making shots, the Buckeyes stepped it up in the second half. Scott got things going with a steal and a layup in the opening seconds.
Then Scott came off a pick by Williams and tossed an alley-oop pass back to Williams for a dunk to start a 5-0 run that pushed the lead to 10 points for the first time. Lenzelle Smith Jr., starting his 79th consecutive game, hit a foul shot before Williams made a left-handed hook for a 37-27 advantage.
The Eagles got it down to six points but Williams scored and then missed the accompanying free throw, and Craft popped in the follow.
The loudest roar of the night might have taken place when Scott stole the ball and then fed Sam Thompson for a high-flying dunk at the 12:51 mark.
But not until Smith hit a 3 with 3:22 left was it clear the Buckeyes were in command. That was part of a 9-0 run that pushed the lead to 16.
Ohio State improved to 19-3 against teams from the Patriot League.
American had played two games with almost identical scores, losing its opener at George Mason 63-60, then winning its home opener against Maryland-Baltimore County, 63-61, in overtime. The latter was first-year head coach Mike Brennan's first win.
Reed only had two points against UMBC - after scoring 15 in the opener - but they came at a perfect time. He hit a game-winning layup with 1 second left in the extra session for the win.
Ohio State led at the half 28-23 despite a miserable offensive performance.
The Buckeyes had nine turnovers and shot just 26 percent from the field. That was almost a duplicate of their last game, where they shot 26.9 percent in the opening half while fighting to a 19-19 tie against Marquette.
The Eagles led much of the opening half, going up as much as 14-10 at the midpoint.
Their last lead was 20-17 on a shot inside by John Schoof at the 6:29 mark, with the Buckeyes closing the half by scoring 11 of the final 14.
Williams tipped in a Marc Loving miss and moments later Scott hit two free throws. After a media timeout, Williams flipped in a hook and Ross hit the front end of a two-shot foul.
Craft, who missed on his first five shots from the field, finally hit a layup late in the half.
After Gardner ended Ohio State's 9-0 run with a three-point play, Craft took an inbounds pass and dribbled the length of the court, flipping in a spinning left-handed layup that fell through the hoop while he was sitting on the floor on the baseline after contact.
Just 7 of 27 from the field, the Buckeyes were saved by their free-throw shooting; they were 12 of 14 at the line to American's 1 for 1.
It was the fifth meeting between the teams. Ohio State has swept all five.
Longtime Big Ten referee Ed Hightower received a nice standing ovation when it was announced late in the game that he was working his final game.
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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.