Lavender Leads Buckeyes Past Knights, and Into Second Round of NCAA Tournament
By Tony Gerdeman
All-American and Wooden Award
finalist Jantel Lavender scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in
leading #4-seed Ohio State to a 80-69 victory over #13-seed Central
Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Buckeyes shot 52.5% from the field while holding UCF to just 39.7% shooting. OSU scored 28 points off
of the Knights' 18 turnovers.
UCF, who plays an aggressive up-tempo
style, started the game well enough, leading 10-9 at the first media
timeout. The Buckeyes then increased their
aggression, particularly on defense, and sparked a 12-2 run capped by
a three-pointer from Brittany Johnson, who finished the game 3-5 from
long range and scored 14 points.
Boosted by five quick points from
Knights forward Ashia Kelly, UCF was able to cut the lead down to
25-21 with 8:53 left in the first half. The
Buckeyes would answer with a run of their own, peeling off a 7-0 spree
over the next three minutes, with five of those points coming from
point guard Samantha Prahalis, who finished with 19 points and 10
assists on the afternoon.
Another three-pointer from Brittany
Johnson late in the half would give the Buckeyes their largest lead
of the first 20 minutes at 41-28 before the halftime score would
finally settle at 43-33.
The Knights opened the second half by
almost immediately cutting the Ohio State lead in half. A Chelsie
Wiley jumper and another Ashia Kelly three-pointer made it 45-40.
Prahalis and Lavender would then go on
a tear, scoring the Buckeyes' next 17 points over seven-minute span,
keeping UCF at arm's length throughout.
“She's a really good point guard,”
said UCF forward Ashia Kelly, referring to Prahalis. “She attacked. She really
can play. We had to just stay in front of her. I give a lot of
“We just basically tried to keep her
in front and tried to limit her from driving right,” forward D'Nay Daniels
said of their failed defensive plan against Prahalis.
Ohio State would build on their lead
until it reached 73-55 on an Alison Jackson layup with 4:47 to play.
Jackson came off the bench to score eight points on 4-5 shooting in
just 13 minutes of action.
UCF would go on a 10-0 run to cut the
deficit to eight points with just 2:22 remaining, but it was too
little too late as they just couldn't get any closer.
“We just hung with our game plan,”
“They stuck to our strength and weaknesses. They beat
us with their weaknesses. We respect them. I'd rather go out with
their weaknesses than giving them what they wanted.”
The Buckeyes harassed the Knights
throughout, coming away with eight steals in the process.
“Ohio State did a great job,” said
UCF coach Joi Williams.
When you play a team of this caliber, you
have very small room for error. So I thought our turnovers got us
tonight. I thought we did a pretty good job on the boards, but turned
the ball over a few too many times.”
Both Prahalis and Lavender played all
40 minutes for the Buckeyes, but coach Jim Foster isn't worried about
“I think the easiest type of games to
play in terms of conditioning are the NCAA tournament games because
you have timeouts every four minutes. They're forever. Those timeouts
are forever. There's no such thing as being tired. It's the same
thing as being in the Big Ten tournament. Announcers who are tired
because they stayed out too late the night before keep telling you
how tired the players are. And the players aren't tired. They get to
sit down and rest. So they love to play. They like to be on the
For Lavender, it was her 134th double-figure scoring game, which ties the NCAA record with
Oklahoma's Courtney Paris.
Up next for Ohio State is a Monday
evening game (7:00 pm) against #5-seed Georgia Tech, who is 24-10 on
the season and coming off of a victory over #12-seed Bowling Green.
The game will be played at St. John Arena on the Ohio State
Box Score and Play by Play
Season Stats Year to Date
Donate by Check :
1380 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212
Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Donate to the-Ozone.
Click here to email this the-Ozone feature to a friend...or even a foe.
(c) 2010 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, rebroadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.