The 5th seeded Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the 12th seeded South Dakota State Jackrabbits 81-73 Thursday night in the West Regional. The Buckeyes were led by a familiar face in star junior Keita Bates-Diop, who scored 24 points on 7/19 shooting.
The games’ leading scorer however, was South Dakota State star Mike Daum, who dropped 27 points on 9/20 shooting. The Jackrabbits hung around with OSU, as both teams headed into halftime tied 43-43.
In the second half, the Buckeyes led by as much as 13 following a Kam Williams layup that pushed the lead to 61-48 with 12:10. The Jackrabbits were able to hang around and eventually tied the game up at 70-70 with 1:53 left.
In the next possession, OSU senior guard Kam Williams connected on a 4 point play, giving the Buckeyes a 74-70 lead. The Buckeyes never looked back, and eventually went on to ice the game at the free throw line.
The Buckeyes advance to face the 4th seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday (time TBA). These two teams met back earlier in the PK 80 in Portland, with the Zags blowing out the Buckeyes 86-59. OSU will need a heavy dose of Keita Bates-Diop along with production from freshman big man Kaleb Wesson to combat the elite frontcourt of Jonathan Williams and Killian Tille for the Zags. Also an interesting tidbit from this game, an NCAA Tournament record 71 combined 3-point field goals were attempted.