Iona was up 6-5 three minutes into its second round game against Ohio State on Friday night. The Buckeyes quickly put to rest any chance they would join Georgetown, Missouri and Duke as No. 2 seeds that got bounced by No. 15 seeds in the past two NCAA tournaments.
Ohio State went on a 15-0 run, counted Iona cutting the lead to four late in the first half and then held a double-digit lead throughout the second half en route to a 95-70 win. Deshaun Thomas scored a game-high 24 points, Sam Thompson shot 6-of-10 from the field for 20 points and 10 rebounds and although Aaron Craft was held to four points, he had seven assists and six of the team’s eight steals. The Buckeyes also held Momo Jones, who averages 23 points per game, to nine — only the second time all season he was held to single digits.
Ohio State advances to the third round to play the winner of Iowa State or Notre Dame in the mess that has become the West Region. Harvard beat No. 3 New Mexico Friday night and the No. 14 Crimson isn’t the only double-digit seed to advance in the West. Marshall Henderson and No. 12 Ole Miss will play No. 13 La Salle in the third round. Oh yeah, and top-seeded Gonzaga beat Southern by six.
The Big Ten champs might be the team to beat out West, despite No. 1 Gonzaga still alive. The Buckeyes had a lot of momentum entering the tournament, winning eight straight with four of those against ranked opponents, including at Indiana. Ohio State is getting into rhythm at the right time, and as the round of 64 is trimmed to 32, the Buckeyes look like a team poised to return to the Final Four.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.