LEXINGTON -- It was go time for Thad Matta's Ohio State Buckeyes. In what was already a handicapped race, Ohio State got a headstart.
Ohio State (31-3) jumped out to a 17-3 start over Central Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and crossed the finish line with a 78-57 in Lexington Thursday evening.
It was a night where most everything came easy for the Buckeyes. Even the three-point shooting, which had been hard to come by in recent weeks, was on the money.
The Buckeyes finished 11-of-20 shooting from long-range in the lopsided victory. The Blue Devils, winners of the Northeast Conference, never got back to within single digits after a barrage of three-pointers by Jamar Butler, Ron Lewis and Daequan Cook.
Butler, a junior and Lewis a senior both made their second appearances in the NCAA Tournament along with Ivan Harris and Matt Terwilliger. Butler sparked the Ohio State shooting nailing the first two threes of the game on the road to 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The shooting was contagious for Ohio State, who will await the winner of the 8-9 game between BYU and Xavier.
Ohio State made 28-of-54 shots for 51.9 percent. Greg Oden led the Buckeyes with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He was 6-of-10 from the field inside.
Lewis added 13 points. Freshman Daequan Cook, struggling recently with tightness in his left calf muscle, had a bounce-back game with 9 points and three rebounds. Point guard Mike Conley also contributed with 4 points and five assists, including several impressive passes.
One of the lone bright spots for Central Connecticut (22-12) Thursday was senior guard Javier Mojica. The NEC Player of the Year finished with 19 points on 7-of-15. He also grabbed six boards.
Tentative gametime for Ohio State in the second round at Rupp Arena is set for 1:20 pm.