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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:34 AM ET, 03/23/2012

NCAA basketball: Ohio State pulls away from Cincinnati

Ohio State finally put an end to the Big East’s Sweet 16 run.

With Syracuse and Louisville already through to Saturday’s regional finals, the Big East had a chance to go 4 for 4, with Cincinnati and Marquette in action.

But after blowing a 12-point halftime lead, second-seeded Ohio State recovered and midway through the second half went on a big run to take control of the game before pulling away for a 81-66 victory over sixth-seeded Cincinnati in an East Region game on Thursday night in Boston.

In the first meeting between the schools in 50 years, Deshaun Thomas scored 26 points and Jared Sullinger had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Buckeyes (30-7), who will play Syracuse in Saturday’s regional final.

Thomas scored a season-high 31 points in the Buckeyes’ tournament-opening victory over Loyola (Md.) and he was on a roll in the first half, making 8 of 12 shots, including 3 of 5 from three-point range, for 20 points. But he had just six points after halftime and for a time, Cincinnati looked like it might advance.

The Bearcats opened the second half hot, taking a 46-43 lead — their first since the game’s first five minutes — on Cashmere Wright’s three-pointer followed by Dion Dixon’s layup. With Sullinger having picked up his third foul, the Buckeyes appeared in some trouble.

However, Ohio State countered with a 17-1 run capped by Sullinger’s mid-range jumper that made it 65-53.

Wright led Cincinnati with 18 points. The Bearcats finished 26-11.

Box score: Ohio State 81, Cincinnati 66

More tournament coverage from Washington Post Sports:

Syracuse edges Wisconsin in final seconds

John Feinstein: For Badgers, picture of a painful ending

Tar Heels preparing to play without injured PG Kendall Marshall

Ohio State, Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio represent Buckeye state

| Interactive bracket & history

By  |  12:34 AM ET, 03/23/2012

Categories:  The Early Lead

 
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