The basket must have looked like pin hole to Aaron Craft and the number two seeded Buckeyes Saturday night in The Staple Center. Ohio State went 19 for 61 and were defeated by the underdog Wichita State Shockers for the right to move on the Final Four in Atlanta.
Shockers Coach Greg Marshall told his team before the game "Do what your capable of doing." The number nine seeded Shockers came out in the first half and out scored, out rebounded and generally out played the Buckeyes. In a sloppy first half Ohio State shot 24% as Wichita State clamped down on the Buckeyes offense, denying every drive to the lane, and contesting every 3 point shot. The shockers led by the scoring effort of Cleanthony Early were able to take a 35-22 lead going into the half.
The second half was more of the same in which Ohio State was plagued by foul trouble and poor shooting. Both teams struggled to score early in the second going almost a 3 minute span without hitting a bucket until Tekele Cotton broke the draught for the Shockers hitting a field goal at the17 minute mark. Led by the hot hand of Wichita State Senior Malcolm Early who finished the game with 14 points he pulled his team out out to a 51-33 point lead, the biggest deficit The Buckeyes had faced in the tournament.
"We gotta make shots." said Buckeyes Coach Thad Matta at the half "We gotta put the ball in the basket." but that was the ultimate undoing of the Bucks as they shot a miserable 31% for the game.
Buckeye scorers were led by Deshaun Thomas with 21 points and LaQuinton Ross with 19, Aaron Craft finished with 9 points and went 2-12 from the field.
Armstead, Early.Cotton, and Van Fleet all finished with double digits for Wichita State. The Shockers have not been to The Final Four since 1965 and will face the winner of Louisville Duke.
Congratulations to coach Thad Matta and the entire Buckeyes basketball team on a great season!.