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CHICAGO, Ill. – In a game that featured 18 lead changes, Ohio State had the last push, as the Buckeyes took down No. 5 seed Iowa 73-69 on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Ohio State is now just the third 13-seed to reach the quarterfinals and it will face No. 4-seed Michigan State on Friday afternoon. Tip-off will be approximately 2:30 p.m. ET.
Freshman point guard Bruce Thornton shined once again, finishing with a team-high 17 points. He also had a game-high six assists with zero turnovers in 33:30 minutes of action.
Fellow freshman Brice Sensabaugh added 16 points while Justice Sueing knocked-down two big three-pointers en route to finishing with 14 points. Sean McNeil made three three-pointers for the second consecutive game and he finished with 13 points.
Freshman Roddy Gayle Jr. stepped up big time down the stretch. Trailing by two, Gayle scored on a jumper in the paint and then knocked-down a huge three-pointer to put the Buckeyes up 64-61 with 3:23 to play. They would not relinquish that lead. He finished the day with nine points after shoving the lead to four on a pair of free throws with :33 seconds remaining.
The first half was much slower paced than the first two games between the teams this season. Iowa grabbed as much as a five-point lead and the Buckeyes led by as many as six. Other than those leads, the half featured eight lead changes. Thornton and Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes with nine and eight points, respectively. Filip Rebraca led Iowa with 10 points.
The second half was just as back-and-forth. Iowa took a four-point lead on a pair of occasions but the Buckeyes answered each time. McNeil canned a three-pointer the first time and Sueing knocked-down a three the second time with 8:40 to play. That’s when Gayle stepped up and played his best minutes of the season. He scored seven of the next nine OSU points to put the Buckeyes ahead for good.
The sequence that seemed to sum of the game came in the final 20 seconds. After two Iowa free throws, the Hawkeyes seemed to have gotten a steal but no one on either side could corral the ball. Eventually, the ball ended up in Thornton’s hands who again lost it under his own basket. It was then knocked-out of bounds by an Iowa player and the Buckeyes would be fouled on the ensuing inbounds. The wild sequence went the Buckeyes way, and because of that, they are headed to the quarterfinals.