PITTSBURGH — Ohio State watched their season end on Sunday afternoon in the round of 32 play, in the NCAA Tournament. The No. 7 Buckeyes fell to the No. 2 Villanova Wildcats by a score of 71-61. Wildcats controlled the game the entire way.
Villanova found themselves leading the Buckeyes 39-28 at halftime. Ohio State played the Wildcats pretty even in the second half, but were never able to get over the hump.
Both teams shot the ball at about the same clip. Buckeyes finished shooting it 42 percent from the field, while Villanova shot it 44 percent. Ohio State won the rebounding battle 33-26 and made just one less three-pointer. The Buckeyes finished with seven three-pointers made, including three from freshman Malaki Branham.
Branham was the high man in this game with 23 points. E.J. Liddell pitched in 17 points and six rebounds for Ohio State. No one else would score above Kyle Young’s six points for the Buckeyes.
Liddell has drawn NBA Draft reviews, as has the freshman Branham. Ohio State will have to see what the future holds for both players, Liddell is nearly a lock for the draft, don’t be surprised to see Branham go.
Collin Gillespie did what he normally does for the Wildcats, which is score the basketball. Gillespie finished with a team-high 20 points. Jermaine Samuels added 17 of his own points for the Wildcats.
For the Buckeyes, it is another early exit from the postseason. Ohio State will say goodbye to seniors Jimmy Sotos, Kyle Young, Cedric Russell, Justin Ahrens, Justice Sueing, Seth Towns, Joey Brunk and Jamari Wheeler. That is not counting Liddell and Branham, who are potential NBA Draft picks.
With the victory, Villanova is set to play Michigan on Thursday March 24.