Ohio State sophomore Jared Sullinger scored a game-high 19 points with seven rebounds as the No. 2 seed Buckeyes knocked off No. 1 Syracuse, 77-70, to reach the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament March 24 at TD Bank Garden in Boston, Mass.
Sullinger faced foul trouble early in the game, but eventually settled down and began to beat up Syracuse’s front court, which was missing center Fab Melo. Fellow sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas also contributed in the front court, scoring 14 points with nine rebounds for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State will face the winner of the North Carolina-Kansas March 25 matchup in the Final Four.
“We’re not going down to New Orleans for a vacation. It’s a business trip,” said Sullinger after the game. “These guys have played without me before, so they know what they have to do.”
Meanwhile, No. 4 Louisville also advanced to the Final Four, and will play the winner of the Kentucky-Baylor matchup March 25.
Louisville advanced over No. 7 Florida, 72-68, in the Elite Eight round March 24.
Freshman forward Chane Behanan scored 17 points with seven rebounds, one block and two steals in the win. Sophomore guard Russ Smith led the way with 19 points, as Louisville outscored Florida late in the game after being behind most of the contest.
“Tonight, it was very difficult because of the way the game ended, because they outplayed us for 32 minutes,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino told reporters after the game. “And it really hurt inside. As much as I felt like celebrating, it really hurt because did such a masterful job of coaching.”
The win marks the sixth Final Four appearance in Patino’s long coaching career.