Defeating what is now a 3-8 Redhawks team, however, does little to prove that the Buckeyes (10-2) have corrected the problems that plagued them in the 82-74 loss to North Carolina or in a 64-55 loss to Louisville on Dec. 2.
Still, the Buckeyes can only play the teams in front of them and Miami was in the way Monday.
“Our biggest key was that we wanted to take the anger that we had from the North Carolina game out on the next opponent," freshman Kam Williams said. "Somebody had to be punished and unfortunately it was Miami of Ohio.”
The Redhawks paid with a 38-point loss.
Ohio State jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a pair of threes from D’Angelo Russell and never looked back. Ohio State truly shut the door on Miami during a 4:15 stretch midway through the first half. The Buckeyes went on a 17-0 run from the 12:10 to 7:55 mark, turning a 17-7 advantage into a 34-7 edge.
"Yesterday's practices was not a long practice but was probably as intense as we could have in a quick turnaround day after game day going into a game," head coach Thad Matta said. "These games sometimes can be a little bit scary because guys are thinking about going home and that sort of thing. I challenged them in terms of I wanted to play a solid basketball game, I wanted to see in terms of getting knocked down could we get back up and fight again? I think we did a pretty good job."
Five different players scored on the Buckeyes 17-point run with Williams, Keita Bates-Diop and Marc Loving each scoring four, Russell hitting one of his five threes of the night and Shannon Scott adding a layup. The Buckeyes forced four turnovers in that stretch.
Ohio State let up a bit from there as Miami responded with a 15-2 run, fueled by four OSU turnovers. That kept the score from getting too out of hand at the break, but Ohio State took a 46-24 advantage to halftime.
After scoring 10 points before intermission, Russell’s hot shooting continued in the second half. The freshman finished with 15 points, all from behind the arc, and nine assists. He and Loving combined for all of Ohio State’s points during an 11-2 run that opened the second half, stretching the Buckeye advantage to 57-26 and forcing a Miami timeout less than three minutes into the period.
Loving finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. The sophomore continued his hot shooting from three, connecting on two of his three attempts from deep.
The Buckeyes did what they were supposed to do against the Redhawks and Matta said that despite the level of competition, he is able to appropriately judge his team.
"I think the biggest thing that we're looking at is are we doing what we're supposed to do," Matta said. "We stayed within the offense in terms of what we were doing and those were things that as you're trying to make some adjustments defensively can they carry that forth? I think from the standpoint of what we were looking for tonight we got."
Loving and Russell paced five Buckeyes in double figures. Williams had a game-high 18, 16 in the second half while Jae'Sean Tate had 10. Keita Bates-Diop made it three reserves in double-digits with 12 points while the freshman added seven rebounds.
The Buckeyes forced 19 turnovers and assisted on 25 of their 36 made field goals.
Miami was led by LJ Livingston's 17. The Redhawks shot just 34.4 percent on the night and a ghastly 19.2 percent from three (5 of 26).
"We were in love with the three tonight and it should bever have to come down to that, especially when you're not making them," Miami coach John Cooper said.
"Of course, we had 19 turnovers. No disrespect to the defense, but they were not pressuring us to the point where we should have had that many."
The Buckeyes played the Redhawks virtually even after their early second half spurt to leave with their 10th win of the season. Ohio State faces Wright State Saturday at 7 p.m. in their last nonconference game of the season.
Based on the current rankings, Ohio State will not have a chance to play another ranked team until a Jan. 29 date with No. 15 Maryland. Two of the best chances for a marquee win are behind the Buckeyes and the team came up short in both, but there's no looking back
"There’s nothing we can do right now to change what happened so we just got to keep moving forward and keep getting better every day,” Williams said.