By Chris Smith
---- — DAYTON, Ohio — Coming off a season-high 19 points to lead Iowa State over Notre Dame on Friday, Georges Niang of Methuen didn’t have as memorable a night yesterday vs. No. 2 seed Ohio State.
Ohio State’s Aaron Craft whittled down the clock and swished a 3-pointer with .5 seconds left for a 78-75 victory over No. 2 seed Iowa State to advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
The Buckeyes will meet sixth-seeded Arizona on Thursday in the regional semifinals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
With the game tied, Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas deflected a pass to force a turnover. Then, Craft missed a 15-footer, but the ball went out of bounds to OSU at 29.9.
Craft dribbled the clock down and hit his pull-up from the top of the key, atoning for some costly missed free throws earlier.
The Cyclones couldn’t get a shot off after that.
Niang finished with eight points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal in 33 minutes of action. He turned the ball over three times. He was 3 of 6 from the field and converted his only 3-point attempt. He went 1 of 2 from the foul line.
Thomas had a game-high 22 points, Craft 18 and sub LaQuinton Ross 17 for the Buckeyes.
INDIANA 58, TEMPLE 52
On the verge of being the second No. 1 knocked from the NCAA tournament, Indiana finally stopped Temple’s No. 1.
Victor Oladipo hit a key 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and the top-seeded Hoosiers, their season moments from ending in disappointment, shut down Owls star Khalif Wyatt in the final 3 minutes to hold off the Owls.
The Hoosiers (29-6) trailed by four with 2:56 left, but closed with a 10-0 run and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. Indiana will play No. 4 seed Syracuse in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Washington, a rematch of the classic 1987 title game won by the Hoosiers.
Wyatt scored 31 points to lead the Owls (24-10), who gave one of the Big Ten’s big boys all they could handle before collapsing when it mattered most.
Oladipo, who spent the afternoon doing all he could to slow down Wyatt, scored 16 and Cody Zeller added 15 for the Hoosiers.
KANSAS 70, NORTH CAROLINA 58
Behind the impassioned play of Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, the top-seeded Jayhawks shook themselves out of a first-half slumber and blitzed No. 8 seed North Carolina down the stretch.
Withey had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Releford finished with 22 points for the Jayhawks (31-5), who also knocked former coach Roy Williams’ team out of the NCAA tournament during their 2008 title run and again last season, when Kansas marched all the way to the Final Four.
It’ll keep marching this year — at least to the Sweet 16 — thanks to a superb second half. Kansas will play No. 4 seed Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Friday.
P.J. Hairston scored 15 points and James Michael McAdoo finished with 11 for the Tar Heels (25-11).
FLORIDA 78, MINNESOTA 64
Mike Rosario scored 25 points and Florida used an overpowering first half to roll past Minnesota and into the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 for third consecutive year with a 78-64 win in the South Regional.
The No. 3 seed Gators (28-7) shot a blistering 65 percent in the first half and led by 21 at halftime. The win earns Florida a return trip to the Lone Star State to play No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Friday.
Andre Hollins scored 25 points to lead the No. 11-seed Gophers (21-13). Hollins’ 3-point shooting sparked a second-half rally that pulled Minnesota within seven points, but Rosario’s sixth 3-pointer with 3 minutes left pushed the Gators’ lead back to 16.
Rosario was 8 of 12 shooting overall and 6 of 9 on 3-pointers.
FLORIDA GULF COAST 81, SAN DIEGO STATE 71
Florida Gulf Coast made history at the Wells Fargo Center, becoming the first 15th seed to advance to the Sweet 16. The 81-71 win over seventh-seeded San Diego State on Sunday night came two days after an upset of second-seeded Georgetown.
The Eagles advanced to play Florida in Arlington, Texas, on Friday.
Point guard Brett Comer finished with 10 points and 14 assists, while Bernard Thompson led the team with 23 points. Five players reached double figures.
A 17-0 run in the second half turned a 54-52 lead into a 71-52 edge.
Florida Gulf Coast trailed at the halftime for the first time in 22 games when San Diego State held a 35-34 lead.
METHUEN MADNESS Georges Niang of Methuen played pretty well in his two NCAA tournament games for Iowa State: First round: 19 points, 9-13 field goals, 1-1 free throws, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover in 76-58 win over Notre Dame on Friday. Round of 32: 8 points, 3-6 field goals, 1-2 free throws, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers in 78-75 loss to Ohio State yesterday.