Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - Freshman star D'Angelo Russell scored 28 points to lead Ohio State to a 75-72 overtime win over VCU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.
Amir Williams added 13 points and Jae'Sean Tate contributed 12 for the 10th- seeded Buckeyes (24-10), who will take on second-seeded Arizona on Saturday.
Keita Bates-Diop only attempted two shots in 13 minutes off the bench, but they were both 3-pointers he made down the stretch to give Ohio State a lead.
"You're seeing a star in the making with Keita," said Russell. "He just needs the confidence."
Melvin Johnson paced VCU (26-10) with 17 points, including two big 3s late in regulation to keep the Rams in the game. Doug Brooks chipped in 14 points but committed a crucial turnover in overtime that led to a go-ahead 3 for the Buckeyes.
In a 58-58 game with five minutes to go, Brooks stole the ball and attempted a layup that would give VCU the lead. However, Russell chased him down and absorbed an elbow to the face, causing a significant cut next to his eye. A Flagrant 1 foul was called on Brooks and Russell hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the Buckeyes a 59-58 lead.
With 3 1/2 minutes to play, Bates-Diop attempted his first shot of the game, a 3 that gave Ohio State the lead. The Buckeyes were up four before Johnson hit 3s on back-to-back possessions. Williams' dunk in transition at the other end tied the game.
Each team missed a chance to end the game in regulation, sending it to overtime.
After a missed Russell shot, play was stopped after Tate and Treveon Graham got tangled up and fell to the floor. After both players were assessed fouls, VCU was set to put the ball back in play.
However, Brooks threw the inbounds pass away, giving the ball back to the Buckeyes, who made VCU pay. Bates-Diop hit his second 3 to give Ohio State the lead for good.
"Our guys have done a good job of taking care of the ball all year long," said Rams coach Shaka Smart. "In these types of situations, you have to really maintain your poise."
With 12 seconds left, Graham missed a tying 3, and Russell drained a pair of free throws with five seconds left to put the game away.
After Williams' dunk on the opening possession gave the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead, Graham hit a 3 at the other end and the Rams led the rest of the half.
Ohio State hung in the game until it missed 10 straight shots from the field, which led to a scoring drought of 6 1/2 minutes that allowed the Rams to go up by 12.
Once Tate ended the cold spell with a layup, Russell took over for the Buckeyes, scoring 10 points in the final 5-plus minutes to cut their deficit to 30-29 at the break.
Russell tied the game with a free throw to start the second half, but five quick points returned the lead to VCU. After Jarred Guest's dunk put the Rams up 37-32, Ohio State ran off 10 straight points, including five from Shannon Scott, to go in front.
Ohio State has won five of its last six tournament-opening games ... This was the first meeting between these schools ... Scott finished with nine points and 10 assists ... The Buckeyes beat Arizona in the Sweet 16 in 2013 ... Ohio State was issued a technical foul because senior Trey McDonald was listed by the wrong number in the scorebook.