Triple delight: Craft sends Ohio State past ISU, into Sweet 16
Dayton, OH – Iowa State was the nation's top 3-point shooting team, but its season came to an end on a trey by Ohio State's Aaron Craft.
The junior guard drained the game-deciding shot with five-tenths of a second left, sending the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year with a 78-75 triumph over the Cyclones.
Craft finished with 18 points and six assists for the second-seeded Buckeyes (28-7), who are headed to Los Angeles to face Arizona in the West Regional semifinals. Deshaun Thomas had 22 points and LaQuinton Ross supplied 17 off the bench in Ohio State's 10th consecutive win.
Korie Lucious had 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range for 10th- seeded Iowa State (23-12), which erased a 13-point deficit late in the second half and led 73-71 on a Tyrus McGee free throw with three minutes remaining.
A Shannon Scott layup gave Ohio State a seemingly comfortable 69-56 cushion with 6:04 to play, but the Cyclones rallied with a 17-2 surge -- scoring 13 straight to tie the game -- during which Craft twice missed the front ends of a one-and-one.
After two McGee free throws put Iowa State back on top at 75-74, Craft, whose three-point play had briefly restored the lead for Ohio State, drew a questionable charge as his foot hovered over the restricted area in the lane.
Craft was then fouled on a drive and made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:15 remaining.
An errant pass on the ensuing possession resulted in a costly turnover for the Cyclones.
Craft missed a jumper, but Iowa State knocked the ball out of bounds.
Holding for the final shot, Craft made good on his next attempt as he buried the jumper from the right of the top of the key.
"I had LaQuinton's screen and some back side action with Deshaun, obviously, coming off a couple, wanted to get him open, get him a shot," Craft said. "They switched. I got their biggest guy on me, made a read, and fortunately enough, it went in."
A first frame that featured 10 lead changes ended with Ohio State up 38-36.
The Cyclones committed nine turnovers in the opening half, but did a good job of securing extra possessions as denoted by their 24-13 rebounding advantage.
"It's tough. I mean, we worked all year to get to this point," Lucious said. "Aaron Craft made a great shot at the end and put them up three. I think we played hard all game. We fought our way back and played our hardest. I just feel bad for myself, Will (Clyburn), the rest of the seniors."
Iowa State made 12-of-25 from beyond the arc ... The Cyclones entered play leading the nation in threes per game (9.8) and total 3-pointers made (334) ... Clyburn scored 17 points, McGee netted 14 and Melvin Ejim logged 10 with 11 rebounds for Iowa State ... The Buckeyes won the first five meetings, including a matchup in the 1985 NCAA Tournament.