NCAA Basketball Tournament Report: Ohio State, Florida, Syracuse and Louisville Advance
Ohio State and Florida joined Big East powers Syracuse and Louisville in advancing to the regional finals of the 2012 NCAA tournament on Thursday. Here’s a recap of Thursday’s NCAA tournament games:
Ohio State 81 — Cincinnati 66
Deshaun Thomas scored 26 points and teammate Jared Sullinger had 23 points and 11 rebounds, as second-seeded Ohio State beat Cincinnati 81-66 on Thursday night in the East Regional semifinals in Boston. The sixth-seeded Bearcats trailed 37-25 at halftime and never seriously threatened after getting within four points early in the second half.
Aaron Craft added 11 points, five assists and six steals for the Buckeyes (30-7), who advanced to play Syracuse in the East Regional final on Saturday. Lenzelle Smith, Jr. chipped in 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting for Ohio State.
Cashmere Wright scored 18 points for Cincinnati (26-11), while teammate Sean Kilpatrick added 15 points.
Syracuse 64 — Wisconsin 63
C.J. Fair had 15 points and seven rebounds as top-seeded Syracuse beat Wisconsin 64-63 on Thursday night in the East Regional semifinals in Boston. The fourth-seeded Badgers had two shots to win in the final seconds, but Jordan Taylor missed a 3-point attempt and Mike Bruesewitz’s follow-up was no good.
Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine scored 14 points for the Orange (34-2), who advanced to play Ohio State in the East Regional final on Saturday. Dion Waiters added 13 points for Jim Boeheim’s team, which advanced to a regional final for the first time since 2003.
Taylor and Jared Berggren each scored 17 points for the Badgers (26-10), who kept themselves in the game by making 14-of-27 3-point shot attempts.
Florida 68 – Marquette 58
Bradley Beal had 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots, and Florida beat third-seeded Marquette 68-58 Thursday night in the West Regional semifinals in Phoenix. The seventh-seeded Gators were up six points at halftime and extended the lead to 14, before the Golden Eagles rallied late, then faded.
Both Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker added 11 points each as Florida (26-10) advanced to play Louisville on Saturday in the West Regional final. The Florida-Louisville match-up will pit Gators’ head coach Billy Donovan against the Cardinals’ Rick Pitino, whom Donovan served under as an assistant at Kentucky and played for at both Providence College and the New York Knicks of the NBA.
Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder had 15 points and five rebounds for Marquette (27-8), while teammate Darius Johnson-Odom added 14 points. The Golden Eagles shot just 31 percent (20-65) from the field for the game.
Louisville 57 — Michigan State 44
Gorgui Dieng had seven blocked shots and Louisville beat top-seeded Michigan State 57-44 Thursday night in the West Regional semifinals in Phoenix. With the victory, coach Rick Pitino’s fourth-seeded Cardinals advanced to play Florida on Saturday in the West Regional final.
Chane Behanan scored 15 points for Louisville (29-9), whose defensive pressure forced the Spartans (29-8) into shooting 28 percent from the field (14 for 49), including 5-of-21 from behind the 3-point line. Dieng made sure that there were no easy attempts inside the paint, either. He added nine rebounds and five points to his impressive block total.
Senior Draymond Green had 13 points and 16 rebounds in his last game for Michigan State. Teammate Brandon Wood added 14 points for Tom Izzo’s Big Ten championship squad.