Houston ends Sweet 16 drought with win over Ohio State
TULSA, Okla. -- The long wait is finally over for the Houston Cougars. For the first time since 1984, they will be heading back to the Sweet 16.
Corey Davis Jr. scored 21 as 3rd-seeded Houston defeated No. 11 seed Ohio State 74-59 Sunday night to advance to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
Houston moved to 33-3 on the season as Galen Robinson scored 13, Fabian White Jr. had 11 and Armoni Brooks added 10 made it four players in double figures for the Cougars.
"I thought our best player tonight was our senior point guard Galen Robinson," Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Has nothing to do with his points."
Ohio State fell to 20-15 and exited the round of 32 for the second straight year. The Buckeyes have recorded a 20-win season in 14 out of the last 16 years. CJ Jackson led the team with 18 points and Keyshawn Woods scored 10. Both were playing in their final collegiate games.
"Coach just harped on me," Jackson said. "Be confident, take open shots, take good shots. And that's what I did."
The Cougars turned the ball over just six times compared to Ohio State's 14. Houston outrebounded Ohio State on the offensive glass nine to six. Brooks and Davis Jr. shared the lead for total rebounds with six each.
It was a tale of two halves for Ohio State. The Buckeyes shot 46 percent in the first half and 47 percent from 3-point range. In the second half, The Buckeyes had an 8-minute stretch of no made field goals and shot just 17 percent from beyond the arc.
"We quickly changed and made an adjustment," Sampson said. "From that point forward, I thought our defense was really good."
Houston scored 34 points in the paint and allowed just 12 lane points for Ohio State. Buckeye forward Kaleb Wesson did not convert a shot in the paint until 3:27 remaining in the second half. He finished with 15 points.
"If we got [Wesson] taking 3s, that's a good thing for us," Sampson said. "I just thought that our guys executed defensively what we wanted to do."
Houston will face No. 2 seed Kentucky in the Sweet 16 Friday in Kansas City, Missouri. Kentucky defeated No. 7 seed Wofford Saturday 62-56.