College Basketball Nation: 2011 ncaa roadrunners-buckeyes
March, 18, 2011
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
CLEVELAND -- Ohio State did what No. 1 seeds are supposed to do in their first NCAA tournament game: Squeeze the life out of a No. 16 seed and eliminate any possible drama.
We didn't learn a lot new about the Buckeyes, except that they weren't nervous or tight under the expectations that come with being the tournament favorite. What Texas San Antonio learned is that when Ohio State is nailing outside shots, it's almost unbeatable.
The Buckeyes shot over 60 percent well into the second half and hit nine of its first 17 three-pointers. A 16-point halftime grew to as many as 38 in the second half. The only disappointment for the heavily pro-Ohio State crowd was that little-used reserve Eddie Days missed a shot near the end of the 75-46 victory after fans chanted his name.
Turning point: Not that the game was ever really in doubt from the moment the pairings came out, but Ohio State went on a 13-1 run early in the second half to break things wide open. From there, Thad Matta could empty his bench, and the Buckeyes could have some fun.
Key stat: Ohio State shot 62.5 percent in the first half and likely would have finished over 60 percent if Matta didn't play his reserves most of the final eight minutes. The Buckeyes also made half their 24 three-point attempts.
Star player: Guard William Buford had 15 of his team-high 18 points at halftime, sinking three of four three-pointers in the first 20 minutes.
Miscellany: UTSA's Melvin Johnson III, who had 29 points in the team's win over Alabama State in the First Four, was held to just five points and 1-of-9 shooting. ... For those keeping score, Ohio State won by fewer points than fellow No. 1 seed Duke (which beat Hampton by 38) but by more than No. 1 Pitt (which beat UNC-Asheville by 23).
What's next: The Buckeyes will take on No. 8 seed George Mason in Sunday's third round. The Patriots will have to execute a whole lot better than they did against Villanova to have a chance, and they'll be playing a virtual road game at Quicken Loans Arena.