Buckeyes cruise past Tigers to advance to Final Four
San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Ron Lewis poured in 22 points and grabbed
six rebounds to lead Ohio State past Memphis, 92-76, in the South Regional
final to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
Lewis, who drained the game-tying three-pointer with two seconds left in
regulation in the Buckeyes’ 78-71 overtime win against Xavier a week ago, shot
5-of-12 from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the line.
Mike Conley Jr. posted 19 points and Greg Oden added 17 with nine boards for
the Big Ten champion Buckeyes (34-3), who have won 21 straight games and will
play either North Carolina or Georgetown next Saturday in Atlanta.
“The game was a game of runs, from the opening tip,” OSU coach Thad Matta
said. “As we’ve said all along, with the nine starters, they all came in and
gave us tremendous minutes. This is a great win for Ohio State and I’m happy
to be a part of it.”
Jamar Butler contributed 12 points for Ohio State, which is making its first
appearance in the Final Four since 1999, when it lost to eventual national
Jeremy Hunt scored 26 points for the second-seeded Tigers (33-4), who had
their 25-game winning streak — the nation’s longest — snapped. Chris
Douglas-Roberts chipped in 14, Willie Kemp 12 and Antonio Anderson 10 in
“That was a terrific basketball team we played,” Memphis coach John Calipari
said. “But tough way to end the season, but I’m proud of these guys. What a
season. I told them after it was a heck of a ride.”
Robert Dozier netted nine points pulled down 11 rebounds for Conference USA
champion Memphis, which was coming off a 65-64 decision over Texas A&M in the
Ohio State scored the first eight points of the contest, but Memphis powered
back and took a 20-17 lead after Hunt drained a three-pointer with 8:43 left.
Then, after Hunt buried another trey for a two-point edge, the Buckeyes went
on a 15-4 burst — capped by two free throws by Butler — and went up 39-30
with just over two minutes remaining.
The Tigers, though, ended the frame with an 8-2 spurt as Kemp’s triple cut
their deficit to 41-38 at the break.
Things remained close in the early stages of the second half and Memphis used
a 12-2 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 56-51, with 12:38 to play.
Ohio State, however, fired back and tied the game at 64, and then ripped off a
12-2 burst — ended with Daequan Cook’s two free throws — to take a 76-66
advantage with 3:47 left.
Kemp’s three-pointer brought the Tigers within six moments later, but the
Buckeyes proved to be too much and scored 14 of the game’s final 18 points.
Ohio State finished 51 percent from the floor, while Memphis shot 40
percent…Cook had nine points…The Tigers fell to 25-20 all-time in the NCAA
Tournament…This is only the second time the two teams met. The first came in
1959 when the Buckeyes crushed Memphis, 94-55.