BOISE, Idaho – Fifth-seeded Ohio State – fueled by seven consecutive points from Kam Williams – held off 12th-seeded South Dakota State 81-73 in an NCAA Tournament West Region first-round game Thursday afternoon at Taco Bell Arena.
The fifth-year senior came off a screen on the right wing and knocked down a 3-pointer while getting fouled with 1:35 remaining. The free throw made it 74-70. Williams added three more free throws after getting fouled on another shot from long range to push the margin to 77-70 with 1:04 to go.
“That was a very high level basketball game,” said SDSU coach T.J. Otzelberger. “A lot of credit to Ohio State; they played differently than they play each game. They decided to go small, switch a lot of screens; I thought that was a great coaching adjustment and credit to Coach (Chris) Holtmann. I think he does a phenomenal job and their guys did a great job.
“At the same time, I’m really proud of the young men in our program. We didn’t come here for a moral victory; we certainly didn’t come here to lose. We got ourselves in some tough spots … we brought it back, which I think speaks volumes to the character of the guys that I’m fortunate to coach each day.
“In the end, (Ohio State) made more plays down the stretch than we did and they came out with a win and credit to them.”
The Buckeyes’ Keita Bates-Diop posted a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Williams added 22 points and C.J. Jackson 20 to go with nine boards and five assists.
OSU held a 44-33 advantage on the glass.
The Buckeyes went 12-of-40 from 3-point range despite entering the contest averaging 19 attempts per game. The Jackrabbits were 13-of-31 from deep.
Jackrabbit junior Mike Daum scored a game-high 27 points on 9-of-20 shooting (5-of-10 on 3s) and corralled six rebounds.
Brandon Key reached double figures for the eighth time this season, finishing with a career-high 16 points. He went 4-of-5 on 3-pointers after entering the game just 9-of-36 on the year.
David Jenkins Jr. got off to a hot start and ended up with 16 points.
Reed Tellinghuisen posted 10 points and seven boards in his final game as a Jackrabbit.
The Buckeyes led by as many as nine points in the first half but the Jackrabbits closed the period on a 14-5 run to knot things up at 43-all at the break. Key hit back-to-back treys to open the spurt, while Tellinghuisen added five points.
Daum had 17 points, and Jenkins and Key (3-of-3 on 3s) nine apiece at halftime.
SDSU was ahead 48-45 with 17 minutes to play after Tevin King scored on a drive to the bucket and Daum connected from the foul line.
OSU answered with 16 straight points and appeared to take control.
Jackson scored seven points and Williams six during the run, which saw the Buckeyes open up a 61-48 margin with 12:06 showing on the clock.
However, Jenkins ended the streak with a trey and Daum followed with a 3-ball of his own with 11:04 left.
Trailing by 10 with less than 4 minutes remaining, Key banked in a 3 from the top of the key and Daum connected from deep in transition to pull SDSU within 70-66 with 3:23 to go.
That ignited the pro-Jackrabbit crowd and prompted an OSU timeout.
Key used a head fake to get open for a layup in the lane with 2:39 to go and Tellinghuisen made a pair of foul shots to complete the comeback, tying the tally at 70-70 with 1:54 remaining.
“It just shows the togetherness of our group of guys,” said Tellinghuisen. “We’ve been together, we fought through a lot of adversity throughout the year. (OSU) made their push and then we kind of fought back, but in the end they hit big shots so you have to give credit to them.”
Added Daum, “It just shows how together our team was. No matter what was going on in the game, we just always huddled together, kept our game plan, stuck for each other. And we were able to get ourselves back into it.”
South Dakota State finished the season with a 28-7 record.
“We have a lot of respect for South Dakota State,” said Holtmann. “And I think our preparation, certainly defensively, was on point. We did not always have as good of attention to detail as we needed to against them, but they’re a matchup nightmare in a lot of ways. Give them a lot of credit for how they played. I just though they kept battling; obviously, they had the benefit of the crowd behind them.
“It got loud in there for them and I thought our guys responded and Kam’s shot down the stretch was critical for us. Players win games, and they did that.”
No. 4 Gonzaga (31-4) defeated No. 13 UNC Greensboro (27-8) 68-64 in first game of the day. The Bulldogs and Buckeyes (25-8) face off in the second round on Saturday.
The Sac City, Iowa, native finished 11th in SDSU history with 1,436 points. He was the school record-holder in 3-pointers made (256), 3-pointers attempted (684) and games started (127); tied for first in games played (139); and second in minutes (4,070).
He started in three NCAA Tournament games.
“It’s awesome that we’ve made it to three; it’s always going to hurt that we could never get a W in this environment,” Tellinghuisen said. “But I just look back – the guys I get to play with, the coaches I get to get coached by – I would not rather be any other place than South Dakota State.”
SDSU in NCAA Tournament
The Jackrabbits dropped to 0-5. The No. 12 seed was the Jackrabbits’ highest in the five appearances.
“I think our focus will continue to just remain on doing what we can to improve every day and be at our best,” said Otzelberger. “We’re not a program that’s looking at it as much results driven. We certainly have a high expectation for what we can do and what we can accomplish.
“But it’s not going to be something that overshadows all these things these guys have accomplished on the court, in the classroom, in the community.”
• Averaged a double-double of 23.89 points and 10.26 rebounds per game this season, totaling 836 points and 359 boards.
• Made a school-record 96 treys this year and is now fourth in school history with 204 in his career.
• Has 2,232 points and 851 rebounds in 104 career games, ranking second in both categories in school history and eighth in both in Summit League history.
• Also in the SDSU career record books, is second in free throws (590) and third in field goals (719).
• Also in the Summit League career record books, is fourth in free throws (590) and 11th in field goals (719).
Notes: SDSU had its 11-game winning streak snapped. The Jackrabbits won 19 of their final 21 games.
OHIO STATE 81, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 73
South Dakota State (28-7)
Mike Daum 9-20 4-6 27, Skyler Flatten 0-3 0-0 0, Tevin King 2-5 0-0 4, David Jenkins Jr. 4-17 6-6 16, Reed Tellinghuisen 3-7 2-2 10, Ian Theisen 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Key 6-10 0-0 16, Lane Severyn 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-63 12-14 73.
Ohio State (25-8)
Andre Wasson 0-6 2-2 2, Jae’Sean Tate 3-4 1-2 8, Keita Bates-Diop 7-19 6-6 24, Kam Williams 8-15 4-4 22, C.J. Jackson 8-19 0-3 20, Micha Potter 0-0 0-0 0, Kaleb Wesson 0-1 0-0 0, Andrew Dakich 1-7 2-2 5, Musa Jallow 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-72 15-19 81.
Halftime – Tied 43-43. 3-point goals – SDSU 13-31 (Daum 5-10, Key 4-5, Tellinghuisen 2-4, Jenkins 2-8, King 0-1, Flatten 0-3), OSU 12-40 (Jackson 4-9, Bates-Diop 4-13, Williams 2-4, Tate 1-1, Dakich 1-7, Jallow 0-1, Wesson 0-5). Rebounds – SDSU 33 (King 9), OSU 44 (Bates-Diop 12). Assists – SDSU 8 (Key 4), OSU 15 (Jackson 5). Steals – SDSU 3 (Key, Jenkins, Tellinghuisen 1), OSU 10 (Dakich, Williams 3). Blocks – SDSU 2 (Daum, Tellinghuisen), OSU 2 (Wesson, Bates-Diop). Turnovers – SDSU 13, OSU 9. Total fouls – SDSU 15, OSU 15. Fouled out – Tate. Technical fouls – None. A – 11,662.
Ted S. Warren/AP photo: Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop, left, drives against South Dakota State guard Reed Tellinghuisen (23) during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament onThursday in Boise, Idaho. Bates-Diop scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as the Buckeyes pulled away late for an 81-73 win over the Jackrabbits.