You Don’t Want It With OSU (or LaQuinton Ross) In a Tight Game

Add LaQuinton Ross to the list.

The sophomore stepped up in the biggest moment of his career for Ohio State Thursday night, putting the team on his back for five of his team's final six points to propel his team to the Elite Eight.

Forget the fact that noted scorer Deshaun Thomas had poured in 20 points against the Buckeyes' opponent (6-seed Arizona) or that point guard Aaron Craft had knocked down a game-winner just last weekend. This time it was Ross who took on the late-game burden, driving in for a ridiculous layup before spotting up for the NBA-range 3-pointer to break a 70-70 tie with two seconds left. OSU won, 73-70.

That's just how things are breaking for this Buckeyes team, right now.

With Thomas, Craft, Ross and even Sam Thompson, Ohio State has to feel confident with time ticking down this tournament. Coach Thad Matta has four guys he trust with the ball in their hands. And, most importantly, his team is executing.

Despite allowing Arizona's Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill to combine for 39 points Thursday, Ohio State locked down when it needed to and outscored the Pac-12 squad by seven in the second half. Ross was the key, too, coming off the bench to pour in 14 points over the final eight minutes.

Now, with mid-majors La Salle and Wichita State competing for the final spot in the West regional final, Ross & Co. have to like their chances at reaching Atlanta.

They are playing their best basketball of the season—11 straight wins, Big Ten tourney title—and they can’t seem to be beaten with the time winding down. After the game, Matta turned to his athletic director Gene Smith and pointed to his heart, meaning either his team showed it or his latest turned out to be another heart-stopper. The good news for Matta, though: He’s been on the right side of the drama, thus far.

LaQuinton Ross played the hero in the Sweet 16. Who’s got next?


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