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Wichita State 70, Ohio State 66

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Ninth-seeded Wichita State hounded No. 2 seed Ohio State from the opening tip and withstood a furious late rally to advance to its first Final Four since 1965 with a 70-66 win in the NCAA Tournament West Regional Final on Saturday at Staples Center.

The Shockers dominated the Buckeyes early with a stifling defense and built a 35-22 lead at halftime. Midway through the second half, Wichita State increased the lead to 20 as the underdog Shockers attacked the glass and penetrated into the post with regularity.

Ohio State lingered, however, trimming the lead possession by possession as they shifted to a full-court press with the game getting out of hand and turned it over to LaQuinton Ross.

Ross, who hit the winning 3-pointer against Arizona to lift the Buckeyes into the Elite Eight, had 15 points in the game's last 13 minutes.

The Buckeyes cut the lead to three with 2:49 left, but the Shockers quickly stretched the lead back to six and became the lowest seed to advance to the Final Four since 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth in 2011.

Malcolm Armstead led Wichita State with 14 points and Cleanthony Early and Fred Vanvleet added 12 points each.

Deshaun Thomas had 21 points to pace Ohio State but went 0 of 6 from 3-point range. Ross added 19 points for the Buckeyes, who shot just 32 percent from the field.

Wichita State turned its defense on early and flustered the Buckeyes, particularly Thomas.

The Shockers built a 13-point halftime lead and held Ohio State to 24.2 percent shooting from the field, including 4 of 13 by Thomas.

Thomas led all scorers with nine first-half points but went 0 of 5 from 3-point range and the Buckeyes made just 2 of 10 from behind the arc.

Wichita State was not much better, shooting 36 percent from the field, but the Shockers boosted the effort with 5-of-12 3-point shooting and a 27-17 rebounding advantage.

Early led Wichita State with eight first-half points and Armstead added seven points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists.

NOTES: Wichita State and Ohio State met four times in history, but not since the Buckeyes' 78-60 win on Dec. 21, 1963. ... The Shockers have advanced to four Elite Eights; Ohio State has appeared 14 times. ... The Buckeyes fell to Kansas 64-62 in last year's Final Four, and the Jayhawks went on to lose the national championship to Kentucky. ... Aaron Craft entered the game 37 points shy of becoming the first Ohio State player to register 1,000 career points, 500 assists and 200 steals. He is already the school record-holder with 246 career steals and just the third Buckeye with more than 500 career assists. ... The Shockers entered the game with a 110-32 record during the last four seasons. ... Ohio State finished tied with Michigan State during the Big Ten regular season but went on to win the Big Ten tournament. ... The Buckeyes last lost at Wisconsin on Feb. 17. ... The Shockers returned just 42 of 165 starts from last season's team. ... Ohio State was 12-8 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

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