Two of the top power forwards in the country -- Louisiana Tech's Karl Malone and Oklahoma's Wayman Tisdale -- excelled today to help their teams advance to the Midwest Regional semifinals, where they will face each other Thursday in Dallas.
Malone overcame a shaky start to score 27 points and get 14 rebounds as No. 8 Louisiana Tech defeated Ohio State, 79-67, in a second-round NCAA tournament game.
Tisdale used his left-handed jump shot to near perfection, scoring 29 points on 14-for-16 shooting as the No. 4 Sooners held off Illinois State, 75-69.
The Sooners (30-5), seeded first in the region, shot 66 percent from the floor and outrebounded Illinois State, 30-22.
Tisdale hit five of six from the field to lead the Sooners to 63 percent shooting from the field in the first half. Oklahoma improved to 69 percent in the second half, hitting 18 of 26 field goal tries.
Lou Stefanovic had 21 points, Ricky Johnson 14, Brad Duncan 11 and Michael McKenny 10 for the Redbirds (22-9).
Louisiana Tech (29-2) held a 37-28 lead at the beginning of the second half. Malone, a 6-foot-9 junior, scored nine straight points to give the Bulldogs a 46-30 lead at 16:31.
The Bulldogs built up a 51-32 lead on a hook shot by 6-10 senior center Willie Simmons.
"Physically, Malone is as strong as any player we've played against this year," Ohio State Coach Eldon Miller said. "They're going to be a force to contend with down the road. They have an outstanding front line."
Ohio State (20-10) made a game of it in the final six minutes, stealing the ball and forcing turnovers.
The Buckeyes were able to pull to 69-61 on a jump shot by senior guard Troy Taylor (18 points) with 2:31 left. However, a layup by guard Adam Frank and a dunk by Simmons assured the Bulldogs victory.
Forward Dennis Hopson had 20 points and nine rebounds for Ohio State.