NCAA hoops: Tennessee tops Ohio State to reach regional final
AP National Writer
ST. LOUIS — One Evan Turner is pretty good. Five Tennessee Volunteers are even better.
Brian Williams scored the go-ahead basket on a tip-in with 32 seconds left, Bobby Maze converted a pair of late free throws and J.P. Prince blocked a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer Friday night, leading Tennessee past Ohio State 76-73 and into the NCAA tournament's round of eight for the first time.
Wayne Chism finished with 22 points — all but four in the second half — and 11 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Volunteers (28-8), who pulled out a back-and-forth tussle in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
As the final buzzer sounded, Tennessee players let out screams of joy and sprinted onto the court. Turner, who was pretty much all of Ohio State's offense in the second half, walked off the court with his head down. He finished with 31 points, 21 in the second half.
William Buford had 15 and David Lighty added nine. But Jon Diebler, so big for the second-seeded Buckeyes (29-8) in the first two rounds, had just three points and was 1 of 7 from 3-point range.
Ohio State had won four of its previous five meetings against Tennessee, including a matchup in the 2007 regional semifinals. But these Buckeyes are far different from that squad, which featured an NBA-caliber roster that included Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook.
These Buckeyes do have Turner. But it's a game of 5-on-5, not 1-on-5.
Chism gave Tennessee a 72-70 lead with 1:39 to play, but Turner came up with yet another big play, swishing a 3 from just beyond the arc to put Ohio State in front with less than 42 seconds to go. But Williams, a big, bruising center who missed nine games earlier this season after a Jan. 1 arrest, tipped in a miss.
Turner missed at the other end and Kyle Madsen lost the ball under the basket. With less than 13 seconds left, Turner fouled Maze, who after a timeout, coolly blew a kiss to someone in the Tennessee fan section. He made both free throws, giving the Vols a 76-73 lead.
Turner had two more opportunities, and he's knocked down last-second shots before. This time, he missed from deep in the corner, but got the ball back. With Prince all over him, Turner's last shot from near the top of the key didn't even get to the rim.