Buckeyes survive and advance, will face Gonzaga

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.

The Jacks ended the season 28-7.

After a dead-even first half, in which Ohio State and South Dakota State were tied at 43, the Buckeyes seemed to pull away late in the game. Williams made his free throw in what turned out to be a four-point play, giving OSU a 74-70 lead with 1:36 remaining. Keita Bates-Diop will ultimately determine a lot about how this team goes this March, so he's a face to watch after a solid regular season from OSU.

The Bulldogs held on for a 68-64 win over the 13th-seeded UNC Greensboro Spartans but failed to cover the spread as 12.5-point favorites in Thursday's round of 64 game at Boise.

David Jenkins Jr. and Brandon Key each had 16 points as Jenkins buried all six of his free throws and Key sank a career-high four 3-pointers in addition to four assists. That, along with the fact that his and-one three-pointer put the Buckeyes ahead for good, was the reason why Williams was able to advance Ohio State in the bracket following the game. Johnathan Williams was the top scorer from either team with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Ohio State had a 15-8 offensive rebounding advantage, which translated to a 19-9 edge in second-chance points. Ohio State saw CJ Jackson add 20 points and nine rebounds while Jae'Sean Tate chipped in with eight points and seven boards.

Ohio State pushed the pace with 18 points off of fast breaks versus an opposing 2 points off of fast breaks. The Buckeyes finished the season 24-8 and the Jackrabbits were 26-6 and it shapes up to be an interesting matchup. South Dakota State Jackrabbits Schedule.

The NCAA Tournament is here. So was Bates-Diop, who had 17 points by halftime of a 43-all game. The national average is about 29 percent, and OSU's seasonal clip is about 30 percent.

  • Rogelio Becker