Ohio State vs Nebraska

Ohio St. rallies past Nebraska to face Michigan in Big Ten


NDIANAPOLIS -- After watching his team turn the ball over nine times and fall behind by three points at halftime, Ohio State coach Thad Matta had some choice words for the No. 24 Buckeyes.

"I told our guys at halftime, I said, `Look, with the nine turnovers we had, why don't we just go out and give them the ball nine times and let them try to score," Matta said. "And they took me literally, so we were down 18 points."

The fifth-seeded Buckeyes (25-8) found themselves in a deep hole, but rallied to beat fourth-seeded Nebraska 71-67 on Friday in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

Ohio State led for almost the entire first half, but the Cornhuskers (19-12) stuck around. Playing after a first-round bye for the first time since joining the Big Ten in 2012, Nebraska finally took its first lead on Shavon Shields' layup with 48 seconds to play in the first half.

That put Nebraska in front 29-28 and, after a missed 3-pointer by LaQuinton Ross, Ray Gallegos hit a jumper at the other end to send Nebraska into halftime with a 31-28 lead.

Nebraska scored the first five points of the second half to build a 36-28 lead, prompting an Ohio State timeout.

The Buckeyes' struggles at the free-throw line in the first 2 minutes of the second half didn't help their cause. Amir Williams and Sam Thompson were both 0 for 2 in that stretch.

"We opened up the second half and we had three fouls in two minutes and ten seconds, and we missed four straight free throws," Matta said. "You know, Aaron [Craft] missed a layup, Trey [McDonald] missed an attempt to dunk, and it was like, my gosh."

Ross hit a jumper to make it 36-30, but a 12-0 Nebraska run gave the Cornhuskers an 18-point lead with 13:45 to play.

Ross was called for a technical foul for shoving during that run.

"He said he got hit in the face on the drive. We're working with him on that," Matta said.

That's when the Buckeyes kicked it in.

"I think we played with more energy when we saw we were down 18, and we started picking up our full court [pressure]," Amedeo Della Valle said.

Ross and Della Valle scored the game's next nine points to cut Nebraska's lead in half, to 48-39.

After turning the ball over just three times in the first half, Nebraska had eight turnovers in the second half.

"They were turning us over, speeding us up, getting us out of operating areas," Shields said. "We weren't executing on offense, weren't making plays on defense, giving up offensive boards. We just kind of fell apart, which is really embarrassing on our part and unacceptable."

"Unfortunately, I thought we beat ourselves," Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. "You have to credit Ohio State with their pressure late. In the last 13 minutes they really did an excellent job of getting us rattled."

Both teams reached the double bonus with 9:36 to play and the score 54-44 Nebraska. Ohio State closed to 58-56 on a Thompson dunk with 4:42 to play.

Pitchford hit a 3-pointer to put Nebraska ahead 61-56. But after two free throws by Aaron Craft and two free throws by Shields, Della Valle hit a 3-pointer with 2:47 to play to pull Ohio State back within 63-61. Petteway fouled Ross on a dunk attempt, and Ross hit both free throws to tie the game at 63 with 1:52 to play.

Nebraska couldn't get a good look at the other end, then Petteway fouled out while defending Ross. His two free throws put Ohio State ahead 65-63.

Ross finished with career-highs in points (26) and rebounds (13) to lead Ohio State into a semifinal matchup Saturday with top-seeded and eighth-ranked Michigan. The Wolverines defeated No. 9 seed Illinois 64-63 in Friday's first quarterfinal. Della Valle added 12 points for the Buckeyes.

Petteway led Nebraska with 20 points. Pitchford scored 15 and Shields added 12 points as the Cornhuskers fell to 1-3 in the Big Ten tournament.

"At the end of the day, when you have a lead like that, you should be able to hold it, keep it and find a way to win, but unfortunately we weren't able to," Miles said. "Credit them, but at the end of the day, I'm going to put this one on us and me and not finding a better way to attack their pressure."

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
LaQuinton Ross comes up huge for OSU with 26 points and 13 rebounds while forcing Nebraska's high scorer to foul out.  (USATSI)
LaQuinton Ross comes up huge for OSU with 26 points and 13 rebounds while forcing Nebraska's high scorer to foul out. (USATSI)
Ohio State #24 (25-8) «284371
Nebraska (19-12)313667
OHIOST:L. Ross 26 Pts
OHIOST:L. Ross 13 Reb
OHIOST:A. Craft 6 Ast
NEB:T. Petteway 20 Pts
NEB:D. Rivers 9 Reb
NEB:S. Shields 4 Ast

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Ohio StateNebraska
LaQuinton Ross
Terran Petteway
Ohio State Buckeyes
A. Craft, G372-72-26636
L. Ross, F349-187-9130426
S. Thompson, F253-81-32027
L. Smith Jr., G221-40-05133
A. Williams, C194-50-25038
S. Scott, G303-42-44529
A. Della Valle, G213-75-860212
T. McDonald, C90-20-01020
M. Loving, F30-00-00000
A. Goldstein, GDid Not Play
J. Lorbach, FDid Not Play
K. Williams, GDid Not Play
Totals 25-5517-2842122171
Nebraska Cornhuskers
S. Shields, G353-96-764412
D. Rivers, G333-72-39128
W. Pitchford, F325-112-251315
T. Petteway, F316-147-850520
T. Webster, G130-20-00130
R. Gallegos, G253-80-03028
B. Parker, G232-50-02244
L. Smith, F80-40-01020
N. Hawkins, G10-00-00010
K. Kurkowski, CDid Not Play
T. Menke, GDid Not Play
J. Tyrance, FDid Not Play
D. Biggs, GDid Not Play
M. Peltz, GDid Not Play
S. Vucetic, CDid Not Play
N. Fuller, FDid Not Play
T. Wagner, GDid Not Play
Totals 22-6017-203192667
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Ohio St.8-017-414
Michigan St.5-217-328
Penn St.3-513-8135
Other games
ILL 63 Final
STBN 71 Final
STL 68
FSU 51 Final
UVA 64
MIZZ 49 Final
FLA 72
PITT 80 Final
UNC 75
RICH 53 Final
VCU 71
MINN 57 Final
HOU 65 Final
LOU 94
IAST 94 Final
KAN 83
NCST 66 Final
SYR 63
NW 51 Final
COLO 43 Final
UCONN 58 Final
CLEM 62 Final
SDSU 59 Final
XAV 78 Final
BOISE 67 Final