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DeShaun Thomas leads the way in Ohio State exhibition win over Walsh

Oct 31, 2012, 4:13 PM EDT

Ohio State Buckeyes' Deshaun Thomas celebrates after the Buckeyes recovered a turnover against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the second half of their men's NCAA East Regional basketball game in Boston

Ohio State will begin the regular season as a top-five team and, in their final tune-up before their season opener, got a double-digit exhibition win over Walsh, 83-71, at Value City Arena in Columbus.

Junior forward DeShaun Thomas, expected to be a leader on this year’s Buckeye team after the departure of Jared Sullinger, scored 25 points Tuesday night in the victory.

“These players need a leader, someone who has been through the trenches and has fought those battles,” said Thomas. “Once Big Ten season starts rolling they will need a leader, and come December we need to be playing better and we will.”

In addition to Thomas’ output, forward LaQuinton Ross scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds.

But, for a top-five team, head coach Thad Matta still has questions.

“This is the first team I’ve ever had that plays harder in practice than they did in the game. We couldn’t sustain runs on either end of the court,” said Matta. “We’ll have a lot to improve on.

“I have a really good feel for what I want this team to be. It is a team full of role players and at times we forced things a little bit but we’ll improve. “

The Buckeyes begin their season on Nov. 9 against Marquette.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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