TULSA, Okla. — Kaleb Wesson had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Keyshawn Woods added 19 points when No.11-seed Ohio State upset sixth-seed Iowa State 62-59 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday.
The Buckeyes (20-14) will play No. 3-seed Houston on Sunday at 8:40 p.m. for the right to advance to the Sweet 16 in Kansas City next weekend. The Cougars (32-3) defeated 14-seeded Georgia State 84-55 earlier Friday.
“We’re extremely happy right now,” OSU sophomore Kyle Young said. “It’s good to be in the tournament but you don’t want it to be your last game.”
Wesson credited the Ohio State defense for the victory against a team averaging 77.4 points.
“Defense, you can’t question it,” he said. “It’s always going to be there on defense. Shots missed, shots made, but that defense is always going to be there.”
Iowa State’s Lindell Wigginton made three-pointer with 20.8 seconds left to make it 60-59. With 18.7 left, Woods made two foul shots to make it 62-59.
The Cyclones’ Marial Shayok, an 88 percent missed a free throw and Wesson was fouled on the rebound. He missed his free throw and Nick Weiler-Babb tried a trey with five seconds left. He missed and Wesson grabbed the final board to end the game
Sophomore Musa Jallow had 11 points for the Buckeyes.
Shayok led ISU (23-12) with 23.
“I think it feels great, obviously,” OSU coach Chris Holtmann said of some questioning the Buckeyes’ being in the tournament with and 8-12 Big Ten record. “You know, you could say it validates the committee’s decision, but we really felt like we had put together a really strong body of work and that our guys had earned it.
“I think that you’re always concerned when you’re in a situation where it’s, you’re on potentially that cut line, but we really did feel like our guys earned it. We knew we had a tremendous challenge.”
The crowd of 12,443 was about 75 percent for the Cyclones. Ames, Iowa, is a 496-mile drive to Tulsa, about the same trip for the Houston backers. Its 811 miles to Tulsa from Columbus.
The Buckeyes were up 44-38 when Wigginton made a three-pointer from the right corner while being fouled by sophomore Kyle Young and made the free throw for a 44-42 score with 11:41 left in the game. Kaleb Wesson countered with an old-fashioned three off an offensive rebound 30 seconds later. Junior Andre Wesson followed with a bucket underneath via a pass from Young to make it 49-42.
Later, the Buckeyes got three offensive rebounds on one possession, Kaleb Wesson made a two foul shots and OSU led 53-50 with 4:35 left.
A Shayok jumper for his 23rd points gave Iowa State its first lead of the second half, 54-53, with 3:37 left but Woods regained the lead by a point on a bucket.
Woods made a trey off the inbound to extend the lead to 58-54 at the 2:44 mark. After an Iowa State basket, Kaleb Wesson made two from the line to make it 60-56.
OSU led 26-24 at halftime in a back and forth game.
The Buckeyes missed three shots on their first trip down the court then heated up to take an 11-2 lead thanks to an 9-0 run Jallow canning a pair of jumpers.
Then it was the Cyclones turn by scoring 10 straight to take a 12-11 lead at the 12:52 mark on a bucket in the paint by Cameron Lard.
Iowa State then went cold, missing six straight in a four-minute span that allowed consecutive field goals by Kaleb Wesson to tie the score at 17.
The Cyclones had to rely on free throws to stay in the game because they missed their next four from the floor as well for the Buckeyes to go up 25-20 with 3:38 left in the half.
OSU went ahead despite Kaleb Wesson going to the bench with his second foul with 6:31 left. Wigginton made a pair of foul shots on the Wesson foul to make it 20-20 but the Buckeyes responded without their center.
Freshman Duane Washington Jr. made one of two free throws to make it 26-20 with 3:18 remaining but that was it for the OSU scoring in the half. Shayok ended the Cyclones’ 0-11 drought with a trey with 1:27 to go and Wigginton added a free throw.
Woods led the Buckeyes with seven points in the half as the Buckeyes were 10 for 28 (35.7 percent) from the floor whole Iowa State was 8 for 27 (29.6 percent).