Buckeyes survive in overtime
Lewis, Ohio State stage stunning rally vs. Xavier
Ohio State thought Greg Oden was its best shot at a national championship. Turns out it was Ron Lewis, and in the nick of time.
Lewis capped a furious rally by hitting a long-range 3-pointer with two seconds left to force overtime, and the top-seeded Buckeyes beat Xavier, 78-71, yesterday in a second-round South Regional game in Lexington, Ky.
Ohio State trailed, 55-44, with 7 1/2 minutes left, and was still down, 61-52, with 2:54 left. When Oden fouled out with a hard shove after the Buckeyes kept missing in the last 10 seconds, they looked lost.
Xavier's Justin Cage then made only one of two foul shots with 9.3 seconds left for a 62-59 lead, giving Ohio State its last chance. Lewis came down and, with two defenders flying at him, swished the tying 3-pointer from several feet beyond the arc.
With Oden on the bench, fellow freshman -- and high school teammate -- Mike Conley Jr. took over. He scored 11 points in overtime and the Buckeyes (32-3) were never threatened again in winning their 19th straight game.
The Buckeyes, who finished No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll, advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time since they went to the Final Four in 1999. They will play the winner of today's game between Tennessee and Virginia.
Xavier (25-9), which has a history of knocking off higher seeds in the NCAA Tournament, was unranked in the final AP poll.
No one had to tell Ohio State about Xavier's tourney reputation. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta helped build it, serving as Musketeers coach for three seasons before leaving the Atlantic 10 school in 2004. His friend, Sean Miller, took over at Xavier.
But this time, the Musketeers couldn't quite get the job done.
Cage, who led Xavier with 25 points, had a chance to all but win the game. He made his first foul shot but missed his second, and Ohio State had a chance to save its season.
Conley dominated the extra period. He scored Ohio State's first 7 points, then four free throws in the final 1:03.
Lewis finished with 27 points, going 4 for 5 from 3-point range and making all seven of his free throws. Conley scored 21 points and Oden had 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in 35 minutes.
Even though the schools are only about two hours apart and both have strong basketball traditions, the Buckeyes and Musketeers met for just the second time in the past 73 years and the fourth time overall.
Texas A&M 72, Louisville 69 -- A hostile crowd. A big shot. A season on the line. All in a day's work for Acie Law.
The Texas A&M point guard, whose cool demeanor earned him the nickname "Captain Clutch," did it again. Law took over late in Lexington, Ky., and led the third-seeded Aggies (27-6) into the Round of 16 for the first time in 27 years.
Backed by a raucous Rupp Arena crowd, Rick Pitino's Cardinals had their chances, too. Especially Edgar Sosa, who scored 31 points but, after going 15 for 15 from the foul line, missed two free throws with 30 seconds left and Louisville trailing by a point.
The sixth-seeded Cardinals (24-10) caught a break when Texas A&M's Joseph Jones missed two free throws at the other end. Sosa got another chance, but hit the back of the rim on a long 3-point attempt.
With a large sea of red-clad Louisville fans who made the short trip to Rupp Arena screaming, Law made two free throws with 1.7 seconds to go, giving him 26 points.