COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The sting of getting ousted from the NCAA tournament hadn’t gone away, not yet.
Moments after Wichita State took advantage of Ohio State’s frigid shooting for a 70-66 victory on Saturday in the West regional championship game in Los Angeles, Buckeyes point guard Aaron Craft was still trying to fathom what went wrong after a season in which so much had gone right.
”This team is great,” the junior said. ”We did a lot of great things this year. It’s just very unfortunate that it’s got to come to an end now. But hopefully sometime down the road we can look back and appreciate what we did.”
Incredibly, six weeks ago Ohio State’s fans were wondering whether the Buckeyes could finish in the top five in the Big Ten, much less come so close to joining the Final Four in the country.
On Feb. 17, just six weeks ago, the Buckeyes were shellacked at Wisconsin 71-49, a lopsided defeat which dropped them out of the conference race.
Yet they closed with a flourish, winning their final five regular-season games to come within a last-second shot that spun off the rim (by Michigan at home against Big Ten champion Indiana) of tying for the conference title.
After that, the Buckeyes rolled through three games at the Big Ten tournament at United Center in Chicago to capture their third championship in four years.
They coasted through a second-round win over Iona in the NCAA tournament, then won heart-pounding, last-second victories over Iowa State and Arizona in their next two games on 3-pointers by Craft and LaQuinton Ross to get into the West Regional final against Wichita State.
The Shockers, however, built a 20-point lead as the Buckeyes had trouble making any shots. A late rally came up just short.
Continue Reading: OSU turned season around before disappointing end (The Associated Press)