Buckeyes oust Gophers from Big Ten tourney
CHICAGO -- Freshman D'Angelo Russell scored 23 points as Ohio Sate downed Minnesota 79-73 in the second round of the Big Ten Conference men's basketball tournament on Thursday and made Thad Matta the winningest coach in school history.
CHICAGO - Freshman D’Angelo Russell scored 23 points as Ohio Sate downed Minnesota 79-73 in the second round of the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball tournament on Thursday and made Thad Matta the winningest coach in school history.
Shannon Scott added 21 points, five rebounds and six assists for sixth-seeded Ohio State (23-9), which will square off against No. 3 seed Michigan State in Friday’s quarterfinals. Marc Loving added 12 points while Sam Thompson provided nine points and seven boards as the Buckeyes improved to 22-6 in the Big Ten tournament under Matta, who improved to 298-92 in his 11th year at the school.
DeAndre Mathieu produced 10 of his 16 points in the second half for No. 11 seed Minnesota (18-15), which has dropped six of its last eight contests and is likely headed to the NIT. Andre Hollins had 13 points, Carlos Morris chipped in with 12 and Joey King finished with 10 to round out the Gophers’ double-digit scorers.
Loving scored five points to fuel a 13-2 burst as Ohio State built an eight-point advantage midway through the first half, but Minnesota responded with 16 of the next 21 points as the teams battled to a draw at intermission. After each team traded three buckets over the first three minutes of the second half, the Buckeyes received five quick points from Russell, who capped a 15-4 surge with a 3-pointer to extend the margin to 57-46 with 11:53 left.
Minnesota, which fell behind by 13 just over two minutes later, rallied within 65-63 with 5:17 remaining on the second of Mathieu’s two three-point plays that closed a 15-4 run, but Russell hit a pair of free throws and added a triple with 1:43 left to stretch Ohio State’s cushion to 72-65. Hollins hit a jumper with 47 seconds remaining to make it a five-point game, but missed a 3-pointer following a steal less than 10 seconds later that could have trimmed the deficit to two.
-- Matta passed Fred Taylor for the most wins in school history and also claimed his 400th career victory.
-- Minnesota senior C Elliott Eliason blocked a first-half layup from Kam Williams, allowing him to pass Mychal Thompson (150; 1975-78) and move into sole possession of eighth place in school history.
-- Ohio State committed 15 turnovers, matching its highest total in the last 17 games.