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 play Georgetown in the next round on

“First half they were double and triple-teaming me,” said Dials. “I couldn’t
get my shot off real cleanly. I just tried to manufacture some points other

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.

“We were very confident coming into the game. We didn’t need a four-point lead
to confirm that we were a good team and could play with guys like them,”
Winters said. “But it did help us a little bit. It’s always nice to go into
the halftime especially in the NCAA tournament against a team like Ohio State
when you’re the underdog.”

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

“I thought we played, obviously, much better in the second half,” said Ohio
State head coach Thad Matta. “I didn’t do a very good job of getting these
guys ready to go to understand just what it took. The challenge at halftime
was to pick up our intensity.”

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

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.