Ohio State advances to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year.
Gonzaga, the perennial bracket buster, with 17 NCAA tournament victories, isn’t sneaking up on anyone these days after their consistent play throughout the regular season and habit of going deep come tournament time.
Jared Sullinger was the workhorse for the Buckeyes with 18 points and two critical buckets in the final 3 minutes of play that eventually lead Ohio State over Gonzaga 73-66.
The Buckeyes had a complete team effort with Aaron Craft going for 17 points and 10 assists, Deshaun Thomas dropping 18 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, and William Buford chipping in 13 points. This is the type of well balanced attack Ohio State has put forward all season, but when it’s crunch time, Sullinger knows it’s his time to shine. That’s exactly what he did Saturday.
Gonzaga fought to the very end however. They were lead by Gary Bell with 18 points and 5 assists and Elias Harris who added 16 points and 7 rebounds. Gonzaga is not a team to be taken lightly and many top tier teams have learned this the hard way. Even though Ohio State would appear to have an inside advantage on paper, it was Gonzaga that dominated the paint early. This is a testament to the heart and determination the Bulldogs bring to the post season.
Down the stretch it simply came down to the fact that the Bulldogs got cold, while Sullinger came up clutch with two very pretty jump-hooks. The Buckeyes were also a little more efficient with the ball throughout the second half shooting 47 percent from the field to Gonzaga’s 39 percent, but this one could have gone either way.
In the end, the Buckeyes march on and face the winner of the Cincinnati vs. FSU game on Sunday.
#7 Gonzaga 66
#2 Ohio St. 73
Other Scores in the East
#1 Syracuse 75
#8 Kansas St. 59
#5 Vandy 57
#4 Wisc 60
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS