The Ohio State Buckeyes are moving on to the Sweet 16 after a 73-66 win over Gonzaga in their third-round matchup in Pittsburgh. OSU trailed for much of the first half but closed on a run to take a two-point lead into the locker room. The Buckeyes then held the lead for most of the second half before the Bulldogs went on a 13-3 run, sparked by David Stockton off the bench. Gonzaga's Elias Harris drilled a corner three-pointer to complete the comeback and tie it at 61 with four minutes to go. OSU responded, however, with a 7-0 run as the Bulldogs went cold from the field and the Buckeyes hit their free-throws to seal it in the final minute.
It was Aaron Craft who did it all for the Buckeyes, having his best game of the season to send OSU on to Boston. The sophomore point guard had a double-double, finishing with 17 points and 10 assists. His season-high for assists was eight coming into the game, but he completely controlled the action on both ends to fill up the stat sheet.
Due to foul trouble, Jared Sullinger had a relatively quiet first half for the Buckeyes. But he came back in the second and quickly provided a defensive presence at the rim -- which was lacking early against Sam Dower and Robert Sacre. Sullinger had two particularly notable second-half defensive plays for the Bucks. Animated gifs of both below:
The big man then went to work on the offensive end, extending the Buckeyes' lead to five with less than a minute to play. Sullinger was triple teamed and still hit a beautiful drop-step one-hander off the square to give OSU a huge advantage in the final minute.
Ohio State moves on to the Sweet 16 and the East Regional to be played in Boston on Thursday. They will face the winner of tomorrow's game between Cincinnati and Florida State. It will be the Buckeyes' third straight trip to the Sweet 16.
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