Despite the final score, the mood of the Northern Kentucky Norse as they boarded their bus for the long trek home was upbeat.
LaQuinton Ross scored a career-high 22 points to lead cold-shooting No. 4 Ohio State to a 70-43 victory over the Norse on Saturday.
The biggest benefits for NKU may come further down the road.
''We're headed in the right direction,'' said forward Eshaunte Jones, who had nine points. ''We have a lot of young kids who are learning right now, so this game is definitely a building block. Ohio State went to the Final Four last year, and there aren't too many teams that come into this arena and leave with a win.''
Jalen Billups led the Norse (0-5) with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Northern Kentucky made its NCAA Division I debut with four games in five days at a tournament in San Diego from Nov. 14-18. The Norse led in the second half of all four games, two of which were four-point defeats.
They didn't back down to the Buckeyes (5-1), either. Ohio State had t...