Friday , Mar , 17 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Buckeyes battle past Wildcats

Dayton, OH (Sports Network) – Senior Terence Dials scored 19 points and
grabbed 13 rebounds to help lift Ohio State past Davidson, 70-62, in a
Minneapolis bracket first-round matchup at Dayton Arena.

Ron Lewis added 19 points off the bench, including 3-of-8 from three-point
range, for the Buckeyes (26-5), who will next play the winner of the Northern
Iowa/Georgetown game in the next round on Sunday.

J.J. Sullinger netted 13 points with 13 rebounds as second-seeded Ohio State
recovered from a tough first half in which it trailed 29-25 by seizing control
midway through the second frame to clinch the win.

Ian Johnson paced Davidson (20-11) with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Brendan
Winters was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 10 points. He also
had eight rebounds.

Davidson, making only its eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, earned
a 15th seed in the bracket by thrashing Chattanooga, 80-55, in the Southern
Conference Championship.

The Wildcats gave the Buckeyes a run for their money in the first half, but
could not keep it going in the second. Davidson shot just 37.1 percent in the
second frame while Ohio State shot a blistering 53.6 percent in the second 20
minutes.

Davidson also failed to get to the free throw line, finishing the game 5-of-7
from the charity stripe. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, got to the line 23 times,
hitting on 13 attempts.

Ohio State struggled from long range early in the contest, finishing the first
half a horrid 1-of-14 from three-point range en route to falling behind after
the first 20 minutes.

The Buckeyes, though, did not let their long-range shooting problems stop them
in the second half as Lewis hit on back-to-back treys to put Ohio State ahead
38-35 with 12:46 remaining.

The two long conversions began a 10-0 spurt as Dials followed with two baskets
to extend the Buckeyes to a 42-35 lead with 11:04 left. The two schools then
traded baskets for a 44-37 Ohio State lead.

Davidson, though, refused to let the game get away. Johnson hit on a three to
make it a four-point game and after Ohio State took a 49-42 edge after another
three-pointer by Lewis, Johnson and Winters hit consecutive jumpers for a
49-46 deficit with 7:33 remaining.

Ohio State quickly regained its cushion after netting seven of the next nine
points to go ahead 56-48 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Dials scored five the
Buckeyes’ points during the surge.

Davidson got back to within five twice after that, but four straight points by
Je’kel Foster and a layup from Sullinger put the game out of reach by
extending Ohio State to a 64-53 lead with 3:16 remaining. The Wildcats never
recovered.

It was a close opening half with the two schools trading leads throughout the
first 20 minutes. The Buckeyes’ 18-14 edge with 9:11 remaining in the first
half was their largest lead of the frame. Davidson, meanwhile, took its
largest advantage of the stanza at 25-20 with just under four minutes left and
the Wildcats carried a 29-25 edge into the break.

Game Notes

Dials was just 3-of-12 from the field for six points in the first half. Six of
his rebounds were offensive…Foster finished with seven points…Kenny Grant
netted seven points with nine assists for Davidson…Ohio State is seeking its
first NCAA Tournament championship since 1960 in its 22nd appearance in the
event…The two schools have now split six meetings, which does not include
the Buckeyes win over the Wildcats during the 2002 NCAA Tournament. That win
was wiped out after Ohio State was placed on three years probation for rules
infractions that nullified records from four NCAA Tournament appearances.

DAVIDSON OHIOST