The game turned on a first-half 16-0 run by the Orange (8-0), who won for the 36th straight time against a nonconference opponent at the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse started 2 for 18 from the floor in the first 10 minutes of the game but made 12 of 14 from that point to turn a 10-point deficit into a seven-point lead by the time the first-half horn sounded.
Although they never quite looked comfortable against the Orange's 2-3 zone, the Buckeyes (7-1) led 24-14 after Brittany Johnson made a mid-ranged jumper at the 7:27 mark.
Forty-three seconds later, Shakeya Leary answered with a short jump shot to touch off the Syracuse run that spanned nearly five minutes.
The Buckeyes missed nine shots in a row before finally getting back on the board again with a bank shot from the low block by Jantel Lavender, who scored again from the post the next time Ohio State had the ball.
However, senior guard Erica Morrow answered Lavender's first basket with a bank shot from the foul line and hit a three-pointer after the second one to establish the 35-28 score at the break.
Morrow had a monster game. She made 10 of 18 shots, including 4 of 10 three-pointers, and totaled a game-high 27 points. The only other Syracuse player to reach double figures on the score sheet was junior guard Iasia Hemingway, who had 12 points.
Lavender, Ohio State's senior All-America center, scored 26 points to lead the visitors, who never seemed to solve the Syracuse 2-3 zone.
Two and three defenders surrounded Lavender most of the time she got the ball, but she still managed to make 10 of 16 shots.
Her teammates never consistently found the range outside to make the Orange pay for collapsing on Lavender. The Buckeyes went 8 for 30 from three-point land, including an 0-for-5 night by senior forward Sarah Schulze.
Commack, N.Y., native Samantha Prahalis had 17 points and eight assists but turned the ball over six times for the Buckeyes. She made 7 of 20 field goals, including 3 of 12 from downtown.
Johnson added 13 points for Ohio State and made 3 of 8 treys, the last of which tied the game at 56 with just under nine minutes to go.
Morrow broke the tie with a free throw at the 8:27 mark, and the Orange led the rest of the way.
With 3:01 left, Ohio State appeared to tie the game at 66 on a layup by Schulze, but the basket was waived off when Schulze was called for charging.
At the other end, Tasha Harris made a three-pointer to stretch the Syracuse lead back to five points.
They made it seven when the Buckeyes left Hemingway alone under the basket for an uncontested layup with 50 seconds left, and Ohio State never challenged the rest of the way.