Ohio State and Santa Clara fans traveled a long way hoping they’d be in The Emerald Coast Classic Final – but the smart money said they’d both be in the consolation game earlier today.
They defied expectations to play each other in the championship game instead.
The Buckeyes entered the game on a high – routing a ranked Alabama team Friday night 92-81 to make the final. Guard Bruce Thronton took the Tide to the woodshed – scoring 29 points in his herculean 36 minutes on the floor.
The Santa Clara Broncos started off the gate hot against the Oregon Ducks. The Broncos rallied behind a good night at the free throw line and slashing offense to hold off the Ducks.
But the Broncos would not continue their barnstorming ways against the Buckeyes – who would eliminate them from the trophy podium early and finish with a dominant win to help their chances at a postseason invite to March Madness next year. Ohio State would put up the largest margin of victory for any game in the final stage of the tournament, with a final score of 86-56
Ohio State’s Jamison Battle headlined the first half of the game. Battle worked the perimeter and fought for more points in the paint to post 16 points in the first half. He’d end the half 4-7 from behind the three-point arc.
Assisting Battle in his scoring duties in the first half were Bruce Thornton and Dale Bonner – who had two dimes a piece to keep the Buckeye Offense in motion.
Adama Bal, a transfer from Arizona, worked to keep the game close with twitch-trigger three-point shooting (1-4). He would post seven points and an assist in the half.
The Buckeyes would lead the Broncos 34-26 at the end of the half.
The Bucks didn’t let up, just cause they were ahead. Jamison Battle muscled his way to a season-high 19 points. The former Minnesota Gopher added most of his points from behind the three point line.
The other top contributors to the Buckeyes bottom line included Dale Bonner and game one of the Emerald Coast Classic standout Bruce Thornton.
Five minutes into the second half the Broncos made it obvious they wanted to take the loss and get out of Northwest Florida as quickly as possible. The Broncos saw the Buckeyes slip farther and farther ahead on middle and long range baskets, while missing paydirt from distance and close up. Santa Clara would end the night with a 34% field goal percentage.