DAYTON, Ohio -- Fitting Ohio State would win it with a 3-pointer. The Buckeyes beat Iowa State at its own game Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in in four consecutive seasons in its storied basketball history.
Aaron Craft's winning 3-pointer with 0.5 of a second left lifted second-seeded Ohio State to a heart-stopping 78-75 victory over 10th-seeded Iowa State in a third-round NCAA Tournament game at University of Dayton Arena.
The Buckeyes (28-7) advance to face No. 6 seed Arizona in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Deshaun Thomas led Ohio State with 22 points, Craft added 18 and LaQuinton Ross had 17.
Iowa State, the nation's top 3-point shooting team, hit 12 3-pointers. But Ohio State went 9 of 18 from beyond the arc, including Craft's winner.
The Cyclones (23-12) rallied from a 13-point deficit late in the second half to take the lead before Craft's heroics rescued Ohio State. Korie Lucious led the Cyclones with 19 points, including five 3-pointers.
With the score tied at 75, Craft missed a jumper, but the rebound caromed off an Iowa State player and the Buckeyes retained possession. With 29.9 seconds remaining, Craft dribbled until there was about two seconds left before draining his winning shot.
Iowa State missed seven of its first nine 3-point attempts, including one by Bubu Palo that struck the side of the backboard. But the Cyclones would heat up later.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Will Clyburn and Georges Niang late in the first half put Iowa State ahead 36-32. Clyburn finished 17 points.
Iowa State played the second half without starting guard Chris Babb, who left with an apparent left ankle injury with 36.6 seconds left in the first half.
Ohio State's small lineups were dominated on the boards in the first half, with Iowa State owning a 24-13 rebounding disparity, including 8-2 on the offensive end.
The Buckeyes, who led 38-36 at halftime, went on an 8-0 run early in the second half to build a six-point lead. But Iowa State kept creating second-chance scoring opportunities off its offensive rebounding, including a dunk by Melvin Ejim that cut Ohio State's lead to 52-51.
Ross scored 10 straight points to put Ohio State ahead 65-53.
But it took Iowa State 2:11 to erase a 13-point deficit and tie the score 69-69 with 3:53 left. The Cyclones took the lead on Tyrus McGee's 3-pointer. He finished with 14 points.
NOTES: Before this season, the Buckeyes had reached the Sweet 16 three consecutive years, a feat last accomplished in 1960-62. ... Iowa State is one of only three schools to have three players with 60 or more made 3-pointers this season, joining Texas Southern and Michigan. ... Sunday's game was a record 100th NCAA Tournament game played at University of Dayton Arena.