New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored all nine of his points in the game's final 45 seconds, and third-ranked Ohio State rallied for an improbable 64-61 win over Notre Dame in the Gotham Classic Showcase Game at Madison Square Garden.
The Buckeyes remained unbeaten thanks to scoring an eye-popping 14 points in the game's last 50 seconds. Ohio State (12-0) was behind 58-50 with less than a minute to go, but the Buckeyes, helped by the tenacity of Aaron Craft, converted consecutive steals into points and rallied to shock the Fighting Irish.
Pat Connaughton caught Smith on the arm during a 3-point shot with 32.9 seconds left, and three free throws later, the Buckeyes were within 60-59.
Just one second later, Steve Vasturia missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Smith converted a layup after a great pass from a falling-down Craft as he drove the lane. That gave the Buckeyes a 61-60 edge with 16.9 seconds remaining.
Jerian Grant then drove to the basket at the other end, but Craft stripped the ball away and it went off Grant out of bounds.
Smith made two free throws with 9.8 seconds left before Grant went 1-of-2 at the charity stripe with 6.7 seconds to go.
One free throw from Craft made it a 64-61 margin with 3.3 seconds left, and Demetrius Jackson's 3-point try caromed away as time expired.
LaQuinton Ross had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Ohio State, which also received 13 points from Amir Williams, and 10 apiece from Craft and Shannon Scott.
Grant scored 18 for Notre Dame (8-4), which also got 14 points from Garrick Sherman. Connaughton had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Eric Atkins scored 10 in defeat.
Sam Thompson's dunk widened Ohio State's lead to 28-20 with nearly three minutes left in the first half, and the Buckeyes went into the break up 33-26.
Notre Dame's first lead of the night came at 38-37 on Connaughton's 3-pointer, four minutes into the second half. The gap was widened to 58-50 when Grant buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with the shot clock about to expire with 1:54 remaining.
Ross drained a jumper, and Smith stole the ball and went in for a layup with 44.3 seconds left. It was 58-56 after a steal and two free throws from Scott with 40.9 seconds to go.
Jackson stemmed the tide by sinking two free throws until Smith was fouled by Connaughton to resume Notre Dame's free fall.