COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Louisiana Tech jumped to an early lead it never relinquished to defeat Ohio State 82-74 on Tuesday.
Alex Hamilton scored 24 points and Erik McCree added 17 with 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (4-0), who are off to their best start since 1998. Jacobi Boykins added 16 points and LeAntwan Luckett 10.
''This is obviously a big win for us and our program,'' Louisiana Tech first-year coach Eric Konkol said.
McCree hit a 3-pointer with less than 2 minutes to play to give the Bulldog a 76-69 lead to put the game away.
''I was really proud of our guys' efforts for stemming the tide a couple of different moments in the game,'' Konkol said.
The Bulldogs led 7-0 before Ohio State tied the score at 12. But Dayon Griffin hit a 3-pointer for Louisiana Tech to start a trend.
The Buckeyes (2-2) tied the score at 25-all and 55-55 and the Bulldogs responded with treys on both occasions.
''I felt like we relaxed when we tied it up,'' Ohio State forward Jae'Sean Tate said. ''We've got to learn the rest of the year to keep the foot on the pedal and keep those runs going.''
Marc Loving led Ohio State with a career-high 25 points; Keita Bates-Diop scored 12 and JaQuan Lyle 10.
Ohio State lost a second-straight game at home to a non-major conference opponent after winning its previous 151 back to December 1994.
It continues to be a learning experience for a team that has seven freshmen and a transfer.
''This team's got to find itself,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. ''We have to look at our weaknesses and find ways to correct them and get better at them.''
Louisiana Tech led 42-38 at the half and charged to a 50-40 lead, only to see Loving make one of two foul shots to tie the score at 55. The Bulldogs then reeled off five quick points thanks to a 3-pointer by Jacobi Boykins and a bucket from Alex Hamilton.
Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs are 4-10 all-time against current teams in the Big Ten. One of the wins was 79-67 against the Buckeyes on March 16, 1985, in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional. Ohio State evened the series exactly one year later with 79-66 victory in the semifinal of the NIT Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. The teams have not met since.
Ohio State: With the loss, the Buckeyes are 7-4 vs. teams from Conference USA. ... Former Ohio State star (1979-82) and current CBS Sports analyst Clark Kellogg attended the game. ... Freshman center Daniel Giddens made his first career start, replacing Trevor Thompson, and scored 4 points with eight rebounds and four blocked shots. He also had three steals and made only one turnover.
FOR THE DEFENSE
The Bulldogs scored 15 points off 14 Ohio State turnovers. The Buckeyes got only five points of Louisiana Tech's eight miscues. ''We did a good job of getting back,'' Konkol said. ''As soon as that turnover occurred, we were really flying down the court.''
LEAVING A MARC
Loving's best scoring output at Ohio State did not go unnoticed by Tate, ''We know what Marc's capable of. He showed it tonight. We need him to continue to do that, but also the rest of the team needs to be better. It can't just be him.''
Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs host North Carolina Central on Friday.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes play Friday vs. Memphis as part of the Hall of Fame Classic in Miami.