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Ohio State holds off South Dakota State, 81-73, to advance in NCAA Tournament

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The first-round game turned into a three-point shooting contest.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-South Dakota State vs Ohio State Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After being tied up at 43-43 at halftime, the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes prevailed in the second half against the No. 12 South Dakota State Jackrabbits, winning the game 81-73. The Buckeyes keep their dancing shoes on, and will face the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday—once again.

Junior forward Keita Bates-Diop put on a tour de force performance in the first half, leading the Buckeyes with 17 points. He would end the game with 24 points—and also picked up 12 rebounds.

He wasn’t the only Buckeye to have a 20-point game, C.J. Jackson and Kam Williams eclipsed that plateau, too.

Jackson made four three-pointers (the same amount as KBD) en route to a 20-point afternoon in Idaho’s capital city. Additionally, Jackson recorded nine rebounds and five assists.

Williams was in between Bates-Diop and Jackson, ending the game with 22 points. Down the stretch, Williams was huge—scoring seven straight OSU points in the final minutes of regulation. He made all four of his free throw attempts, and recorded five rebounds and three steals.

On the other side of the court, the Jackrabbits had a 17-point first half outing from a star of their own, Mike Daum. The forward went 6-of-10 from the field, with three of those shots connecting from downtown. By the time the final horn sounded at Taco Bell Arena, the Summit League Player of the Year ended with 27 points, and made five shots from three-point land.

Here’s how this one went down.

It took 88 seconds for the first point to be scored, courtesy of a David Jenkins Jr. free throw. Right after those freebies were made, Jae’Sean Tate knocked down a three-pointer to give the Buckeyes the early lead.

The game was back-and-forth, with no team pulling away by more than five for the first 10 minutes of action. The Buckeyes looked to be putting some distance between them 9:10 left in the half, as Kam Williams drove to the basket to give the Scarlet and Gray a 26-18 lead. However, Daum went down on the other end and knocked home a three-pointer.

That wasn’t the first instance where Daum kept the Jackrabbits in the game thanks to the long ball. A few minutes after answering the Williams basket, Daum broke up a five-point Buckeye run with another three, cutting the No. 5-seed’s lead to 34-29 with 5:42 left in the first frame.

Even though Daum was the scoring answer for SDSU, the Bucks worked the ball inside, and shot a collective nine made three-pointers in the first half. Because of this, OSU had, at one point, a nine-point lead in the waning minutes of the first half. It should be noted that the Jackrabbits also made nine three-pointers in the first half—and had a couple of them fall late in the final minutes.

Brandon Key made back-to-back threes to cut OSU’s lead from nine to three. Reed Tellinghuisen also rattled home a triple for SDSU right after Andrew Dakich connected on a shot from downtown, making the score 41-38 OSU with 2:30 remaining. Tellinghuisen would make the last shot of half (another three) at the 1:15 mark, taking us to halftime at 43-43.

If you loved the three-point shot, then you loved what was happening in Boise.

When action picked back up, things got a little bit chippy. Fouls weren’t being called, and the tempo crescendoed to a frenetic pace in the first five minutes. After having a hot first half, the Jackrabbits shooting got cold; three-pointers weren’t falling, and the inside shot wasn’t connecting either. Ohio State took advantage of this, with the help of KBD making a three, and C.J. Jackson and Williams working the ball inside for points—as well as on the fast break.

With 12:06 left in the half, the Buckeyes had their largest lead of the afternoon: 13 points.

That large lead would be chipped away almost instantaneously, as Jenkins Jr. finally found his three-point shot to cut the lead to 61-51. A missed OSU layup by Kaleb Wesson led to the long-ball being found again by the Jackrabbits; this time around, it was Daum that connected.

As the lead was nearly slashed in half, the Buckeyes found a way to get back up to double-digits. Jackson had a floater that went through, and Bates-Diop made two free throws after being fouled by Tellinghuisen.

OSU’s would hang on to the lead, as the Jackrabbits missed four straight shots. Tellinghuisen broke up the slump after jumping the route and stealing a pass intended for Jackson, which led to him dunking home the ball. At the under-8 minute media timeout, OSU still had command on the scoreboard, 65-56.

Off of the TV timeout, Tate went to the free throw line after getting hacked by Tellinghuisen. One of his freebies hit the bottom of the net—giving the Buckeyes another double-digit lead. Signs were pointing to a comfortable Buckeye win, at least for a while. Andrew Dakich stole the ball from Jenkins Jr., and stifled another chance for SDSU to get back into the game. With a tad over four minutes left to play, OSU maintained a 10-point lead.

However, Daum and the calvary weren’t going back home without a fight. Key banged home a three pointer, and then after a missed two-pointer for OSU’s Jackson, Daum sank a three from the far wing.

Just like that, the score was 70-66 with 3:23 left in regulation.

After Dakich missed a three-pointer with the shot clock expiring, Tate was called for his fifth foul after trying to get the rebound. With Tate’s afternoon over, Key drove down the other end and made a turnaround jumper to cut the OSU lead to two.

The long ball continued to show no love to Ohio State, as KBD missed a three, leading to Daum getting a good look on the other end of the floor. That shot didn’t fall, but Telvin King dove down onto the floor to force a jump ball—giving the possession back to SDSU by virtue of the possession arrow.

On the next possession, Tellinghuisen tied the game after sinking two free throws after getting fouled by Dakich.

It was all tied at 70-70 in the Taco Bell Arena—but for all off 19 seconds. Williams heaved up a three from the near wing, and drew contact from Jenkins Jr. The shot somehow fell, and he got the and-1 to go, too.

SDSU’s next possession ended on a missed three from Tellinghuisen, and Williams missing the shot. Dakich, though, gobbled the rebound and kicked it back out to Williams, who was standing dead center from the basket at the three-point line. Instead of holding onto the ball, Williams put up a shot. Just like the last time, he drew contact—but unlike the last time, this three-pointer didn’t fall down. All three of these freebies would connect, giving the Buckeyes an unlikely 7-0 run, and a 77-70 lead with 1:04 remaining in regulation.

In the final minute, the shots just weren’t going down for SDSU, and OSU made a quartet of free throws—two from Dakich, and two from KBD.

Next up: Gonzaga.