DAYTON, Ohio — With less than 5 seconds left in a tied game, perhaps the best pure scorer in the country came off a pair of screens that did exactly what they were designed to do: get him open.
Deshaun Thomas called for the ball — screamed for it, waved his hands high above the 6-foot-7 inch frame that had made him essentially unguardable for the first 39 minutes and 55 seconds of his team’s second-round NCAA tournament thriller — but the pass never came.
Instead, a 6-foot-2 point guard — who spent most of the second half turning the ball over and missing key free throws, who was being guarded by the opposing team’s tallest player, who hadn’t attempted a 3-pointer all afternoon and averages just 29.3 percent from beyond the arc this season — looked him off.
To say Aaron Craft faced pressure in the final seconds of Ohio State’s 78-75 win over Iowa State Sunday is to state the incredibly obvious, but that pressure wouldn’t have come solely from Buckeyes fans, who would have surely blamed him for a heartbreaking second-round upset loss. Craft would have had one unhappy teammate, too.
“I don’t think I would have been angry,” Thomas said. “I think I would have said, ‘OK, let’s go out and win the overtime, let’s win the next five minutes.’”
“Oh, man — furious,” point guard Lenzelle Smith said, laughing. “He would have been furious.”
Continue reading this article: Craft plays forward, saves OSU at end