|Ohio State, Indiana win close to home in Dayton|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 22 March 2013 22:48|
Come Sunday, they'll go in different directions - either West or East or back home to unpack for good.
Sam Thompson had career highs with 20 points and 10 rebounds Friday night, part of a dominating performance by Ohio State's high-flying front line, and the Buckeyes ran away to a 95-70 victory over Iona in the second round of the West Regional.
The second-seeded Buckeyes (27-7) are in prime March form with nine straight wins, including their last five games of the regular season and a run to the Big Ten tournament title.
``We have a lot of confidence,'' Thompson said. ``We know that if we come out and do the things we're supposed to do on both sides of the ball, we could beat any team in the country.''
They next play 10th-seeded Iowa State (23-11), with the winner moving on to Los Angeles. The Cyclones ran away from Notre Dame 76-58 in the final game Friday night, showing they can do much more than just shoot.
Freshman forward Georges Niang matched a season high with 19 points, and the Cyclones pulled away by making 12 of their first 14 shots in the second half. Iowa State also forced Notre Dame (25-10) into an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers, 14 of them in the first half.
``I'm so proud of the guys, the way they came out right from the beginning of the game. We executed our game plan perfectly,'' Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. ``I thought we shared the ball. I thought our spacing was very good. And we got around the rim much better in the second half. It was nice to be able to pull away at the end to get our guys in there.''
Notre Dame's final game as part of the Big East was one of its worst, ending with yet another NCAA tournament disappointment.
``They are really good, and I'm thoroughly disappointed in us tonight,'' coach Mike Brey said. ``It's crushing that we weren't better in the first half and better with the basketball. They had a lot to do with it.
``It's a hard one to swallow. I don't want to take anything away from Iowa State - they're so potent offensively. They keep your spread, and at times I really felt it was men playing against boys most of the night.''
Indiana, the top seed in the East Regional, swatted away James Madison 83-62 earlier in the afternoon, setting up a game on Sunday against Temple. The winner heads to Washington, D.C.
Point guard Yogi Ferrell scored Indiana's first nine points and had 14 in the first six minutes, setting up a comfortable win over a No. 16 seed. Indiana (28-6) led by 21 at halftime and pushed it to 33 in the second half before easing up on the Dukes (21-15), who won their first tournament game in 30 years as part of the First Four in Dayton earlier in the week.
``I've been waiting for this all week,'' said Ferrell, who added eight rebounds and six assists. ``A lot of us are jacked up to get out here, play against some different competition.''
James Madison beat LIU Brooklyn on Wednesday in Dayton and thought it could hang with the Hoosiers. It was never close.
``It will be a learning experience, especially for my youngest guys,'' Dukes coach Matt Brady said. ``They played a dynamite first half, and it really took us a first half to catch up to the speed with which they play.''
Next up for the Hoosiers are the ninth-seeded Owls (24-9), who came away from a 76-72 win over North Carolina State with a major concern.
Khalif Wyatt, the Atlantic 10's player of the year and top scorer, hurt his left thumb in the second half and finished the game with a grimace. He managed to score 31 points, including six decisive free throws in the final 32 seconds.
A Temple team accustomed to being one-and-done at NCAA tournament time got to move on because of the senior guard's performance. There's no telling how much his non-shooting hand will bother him Sunday.
``He's as tough a competitor as I've had an opportunity to coach,'' Temple's Fran Dunphy said. ``He wants the moment.''
The Owls made the tournament each of the last five years, losing their opening game all but once. They haven't been to the round of 16 since 2001, when they reached the regional final. They're one big upset away from getting there again.
The Wolfpack (24-11) went to the round of 16 last season and yearned for a deep tournament run in a year dedicated to their most famous finish. Richard Howell had 14 points and 15 rebounds for N.C. State.
The Wolfpack are commemorating the 30-year anniversary of their national title under coach Jim Valvano. That's when Lorenzo Charles grabbed Dereck Whittenburg's off-target shot and slammed it home at the buzzer for a 54-52 win over Houston, sending Valvano on his joyous ramble around the court.
Wyatt cut off any hopes of a last-second win this time.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.