Buckeyes take Big Ten title, get seeded second in the West Region
CHICAGO — Deshaun Thomas and Ohio State were tired, worn down by a grueling Big Ten tournament. Traevon Jackson and Wisconsin had little left as well in the third game in three days for each team.
Locked in a battle of wills, the Buckeyes found a way.
Thomas scored 17 points and No. 10 Ohio State used its stout defense to beat No. 22 Wisconsin 50-43 Sunday for its Big Ten-best fifth tournament title.
“We were challenging our guys every timeout, telling them ‘You’ve got one more gear. You’ve got one more gear,’ ” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “Fortunately for us, we made some big plays and then finally knocked a couple shots down.”
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Thomas was 6 for 19 from the field, but made some big free throws down the stretch as Ohio State won the championship for the third time in the past four years. Aaron Craft, who was voted the most outstanding player of the tournament, had nine points and six rebounds, and LaQuinton Ross delivered a couple of huge plays.
The Buckeyes (26-7) were rewarded with a No. 2 seed in the West Region for the NCAA tournament and a second-round game against Iona. Wisconsin is in the same region, with the fifth-seeded Badgers playing Mississippi.
Jackson scored 10 points for the Badgers (23-11), who shot 38.3 percent from the field. None of his teammates reached double figures.
“It’s a disappointment,” senior Ryan Evans said. “We definitely wanted to leave here with some hardware, but moving forward, we’ve got the NCAA tournament. It’s a bigger thing, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Shane Larkin scored a career-high 28 points, eight in the final 2 ½ minutes, and No. 9 Miami (27-6) captured a 87-77 victory over North Carolina (24-10) in Greensboro, N.C., for its first ACC tournament championship to go with its first regular-season title. Trey McKinney Jones added 20 points for the top-seeded Hurricanes.
Kwamain Mitchell scored 19 points, including a huge three-pointer with the shot clock winding down, and tournament MVP Dwayne Evans added 16 for No. 16 Saint Louis (27-6), a 62-56 winner over No. 25 Virginia Commonwealth (26-8) in New York.
Murphy Holloway scored 23 points and Marshall Henderson had 21 as Mississippi (26-8) was a 66-63 upset winner over No. 13 Florida (26-7) in Nashville, Tenn. The Rebels have won seven of eight and earned their first tournament title since 1981 and second ever.
Colonial — In Upper Marlboro, Md., Elena Delle Donne scored 28 points, and No. 15 Delaware (30-3) was a 59-56 winner over Drexel (22-10) to extend its winning streak to 25 games.
Horizon — Sarah Eichler scored 16 points and Adrian Ritchie added 15 as the host, No. 20 Green Bay (29-4), took a 54-38 victory over Loyola (17-15) of Chicago.
Northeastern — Brittany McQuain scored 14 points to lead Quinnipiac (30-2) to a 72-33 rout of Saint Francis (17-15), Pa., in Hamden, Conn.
Missouri Valley — Alex Harden and Michaela Dapprich scored 19 points each to lead Wichita State (24-9) to a 69-65 win over Illinois State (23-10) in St. Charles, Mo.