NCAA Tournament: (12) South Dakota State Comes Up Short Against (5) Ohio State
South Dakota State, looking to capture some of that 12th seed magic in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, went toe-to-toe with fifth-seed Ohio State more than 38 minutes, but a pair of costly fouls helped propel the Buckeyes to a 81-73 win over the Jackrabbits, in Boise, Idaho.
South Dakota State was trying to become the 30th 12-seed in the last 34 years to pull off an opening round upset, but instead the Jacks fall to 0-5 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
SDSU had rallied from 11 points down in the second half to tie the game at 70 with 1:54 left, but David Jenkins Jr. fouled OSU's Kam Williams on a made three-pointer and moments later Brandon Key fouled Williams again from behind the three-point line. That sequence gave the Buckeyes seven unanswered points in 31 seconds to secure the victory.
The Buckeyes were trying to shake off a bit of rust coming in, having played just twice in the last 20 days, and it showed early as they missed six of the first eight shots and the Jackrabbits grabbed a four-point lead. David Jenkins Jr. scored South Dakota State's first seven points.
But then OSU found their shooting touch at the same time SDSU started getting sloppy with the basketball.
The Buckeyes made 10 of their next 17 shots, including four three-pointers, while turning the Jackrabbits over five times in the first eight minutes to go on a 16-4 run. Keita Bates-Diop scored 13 of Ohio State's first 19 points. Bates-Diop had three of OSU's nine first half three-pointers, scoring 17 points in the first 20 minutes.
The Buckeyes' lead was nine points with less than five minutes to play in the first half, when South Dakota State answered with a three-point barrage. The Jacks' last five field goals of the first half came from behind the arc, as they closed out the final 4:21 on a 14-5 run to tie the game at intermission 43-43.
SDSU's Mike Daum was 6-of-10 in the first half, with three three-pointers, scoring 17 points. Brandon Key, who was averaging just six points a game coming in, hit all three of his long range shots in the first half for nine points. The Jackrabbits matched the Buckeyes with nine first half three-pointers.
Ohio State responded out of the locker room with a 16-0 run early in the second half, as CJ Jackson scored five straight points while South Dakota State started the half going just 2-of-10 from the floor with four turnovers in the first 8:00. The Jackrabbits went nearly six minutes without a field goal and the Buckeye lead was 11.
The Summit League champs weren't done. The Jacks responded with Reed Tellinghuisen's defensive tenaciousness keying a 16-4 SDSU run that began with back-to-back three-pointers from Daum and Key and finished with a pair of Tellinghuisen free throws to tie the game at 70.
Both teams shot 38 percent for the game. Daum led all scorers with 27 points. Key and Jenkins added 16. Tellinghuisen finished with 10.
Ohio State improves to 25-8. Bates-Diop finished with 24 points. Williams had 22. Jackson added 20.
The Buckeyes play Gonzaga in round two, Saturday (March 17).