An incredible rally fell just short as No. 5 seed Ohio State fell to fourth-seeded Gonzaga 90-84 in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday.
Ohio State’s season ends just shy of a Sweet 16 appearance after recording the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2015.
WHY OHIO STATE LOST: Ohio State dug a 15-0 hole at the start of the game, missing a slew of shots — including a few layups — and also allowing Gonzaga to get some good looks on the other end. While a big run to open the second half eventually helped the Buckeyes take the lead, Gonzaga responded and put the game away with a decisive performance in the final 4 minutes. The Bulldogs hit a number of huge 3-pointers down the stretch, while the Buckeyes’ outside shooting cooled down in the late stages.
WHAT IT MEANS: Ohio State had a season it should be proud of, but the Buckeyes couldn’t quite get to the Sweet 16 level. Still, it’s hard to consider this year anything other than a resounding success given the dismal preseason projections. Getting an NCAA Tournament win validated the successful stretch of the regular season, and a Sweet 16 appearance would have just been the cherry on top.
WHO STARRED: Keita Bates-Diop was as good as ever for the Buckeyes, scoring 28 points and being the dependable contributor that Ohio State has come to count on this season. With 19 points, Kam Williams had another great game to follow up his first-round heroics in which he rescued the Buckeyes from South Dakota State’s upset bid.
WHO STUMBLED: Kaleb Wesson was essentially a non-factor for the Buckeyes for the second consecutive game. He got into foul trouble, which was compounded by back-to-back fouls early in the second half, and only played a handful of minutes.
WHO IS NEXT: Ohio State’s 2017-18 season is over.
Gonzaga 90, Ohio State 84 pic.twitter.com/btzV5EaazT
— Ryan Ginn (@rmginn) March 18, 2018