Sunday, March 24, 2013

OSU vs. ISU: March Madness personified

Every year there seems to be a game to remember for the ages in the NCAA tournament. Some years it's the crazy, insane bracket-busting wins by an underdog, but in some years it's the game where two great basketball teams go toe to toe and we just simply get a great basketball game. On Sunday afternoon we almost got both as 2nd seeded Ohio State took on 10th seeded Iowa State.

This game was a back and forth battle from start to halftime, with OSU heading into the locker room with a narrow 38-36 lead.

ISU came out of the intermission and did what it does best - hit three pointers - as Korie Lucious gave the Cyclones a 39-38 lead. However, that woke up the Buckeyes offense a bit as well and Iowa State wouldn't see a lead again for quite some time despite keeping the game close for most of the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half.

Then OSU turned things up a notch or two, going up by 13 points. Should've been the end of the game, right? Nah, Iowa State and their sharp shooters would have none of that. After a Shannon Scott made layup with 6:09 left to go in the game the Cyclones swept back into power in Dayton.

Of course the comeback would be started with a triple, as Melvin Ejim hit one from deep quickly after going down by 13. That triple and a much better effort on the defensive end sparked a 16-2 run that saw ISU go up 72-71 with 3:23 left.

That's how dangerous this Cyclones team was on Sunday afternoon. In less than three minutes of game time they erased what should've been an insurmountable lead. But, that was just the beginning of the fun in this one.

There were missed calls on both ends and a questionable call that went Ohio State and Aaron Craft's way that lead to a four point swing - one that had the call been blocking could've put ISU up by four with 1:15 left to play.

Instead it was Aaron Craft getting to head to the line on a charging call and knocking down a free throws and tying the ball game up at 75-75.

But that's when the fun began as OSU created a Melvin Ejim turnover with 58 seconds left, took the shot clock down to next to nothing and with 30 seconds to go they missed a shot. One that should've been grabbed by Iowa State, but instead slipped through the fingers of two Cyclone defenders.

So, with the shot clock off and the game tied up it was down to whatever OSU drew up for a last second play. Of course they'd go to one Aaron Craft, and this is how it played out:

That was Craft's lone made three and it turned out to be the only one of the 21 made treys between the two that mattered when it was all said and done.

Saying this game is the best so far in the tournament isn't a stretch at all, it had it all.. Two teams playing great basketball all night long, crazy runs and comebacks, questionable calls by officials. You simply couldn't take your eyes off of this one from start to finish.

What's even better is this is the finish everyone will be talking about in a West regional bracket that features only Ohio State as a top seeded team to advance to the Sweet 16. That's how crazy good this game was.

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