Score: No. 9 Wichita St 70, No. 2 Ohio St 66
Stars: Wichita St: Cleanthony Early 12 Pts, 7 Reb. Ohio State: Deshaun Thomas 21 Pts, 5 Reb
Story: There will be no back-to-back Final Four appearances for Ohio State, as a dismal shooting performance doomed the Buckeyes Saturday night in Los Angeles. OSU shot 31% from the field and 20% from three point land, resulting in an early hole that they were never able to climb out of. Wichita State’s largest lead was 20, which was cut down to three late in the second half, but that was the closest the Buckeyes would get.
LaQuinton Ross followed up Thursday night’s game-winning shot with 19 points and five rebounds, his third straight game scoring in double digits.
Wichita State came out firing from three early, with Ohio State unable to find an offensive rhythm and respond. Poor shooting nights have been the recipe for disaster in the tournament in recent years for Ohio State, and this game was no different. The Buckeyes mounted an impressive comeback to trim Wichita State’s lead back into single digits, but the Shockers were ultimately just too much for Ohio State.
The fact that OSU even had a chance at the Final Four is quite impressive given the growth that this team has seen. For much of the season, Deshaun Thomas carried the group, with little help from anyone else. Suddenly, Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson and LaQuinton Ross emerged as guys you could count on for productive games. The key to next season will be whether or not Deshaun Thomas can be swayed into staying for his senior season. The rest of the team has given him a reason to come back, especially if Amir Williams can develop into a dominant big man.
The future is bright in Columbus.
— Jeff Boals (@JeffBoals) March 31, 2013