INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — LaQuinton Ross had 26 points and 13 rebounds and No. 24 Ohio State rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to beat fourth-seeded Nebraska 71-67 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.
The victory sends No. 5 seed Ohio State (25-8) into a semifinal matchup with No. 1 seed Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines defeated No. 9 seed Illinois 64-63 in another quarterfinal on Friday.
Amedeo Della Valle added 12 points for the Buckeyes, who led for all but the final minute of the first half, then had to rally past the Cornhuskers (19-12).
Terran Petteway led Nebraska with 20 points, but fouled out while defending Ross late in the game. Walter Pitchford added 15 points and Shavon Shields scored 12 for Nebraska, playing after a first-round bye for the first time since joining the Big Ten.
Ohio State led for almost the entire first half. But Nebraska’s switch to a zone defense held Ohio State’s offense in check, and the Huskers finally took their first lead of the game on a layup by Shavon Shields with 51 seconds left in the half.
That put Nebraska in front 29-28, and after a missed 3-pointer by Ross, Ray Gallegos hit a jumper at the other end to send Nebraska into halftime with a 31-28 lead.
Nebraska scored the first five points of the second half to build a 36-28 lead, prompting an Ohio State timeout. The Buckeyes’ struggles at the free-throw line in the first two minutes of the second half didn’t help their cause. Amir Williams and Sam Thompson were both 0-for-2 in that stretch.
Meanwhile, Petteway (1-of-2) and David Rivers (2-of-2) were hitting their free throws, and a Rivers jumper gave Nebraska an eight-point lead.
Ross scored to stop the Huskers’ run. But Petteway answered a 3-second violation on Ohio State with a jumper to put Nebraska ahead 38-30.
That started a 12-0 run for Nebraska, including two free throws by Petteawy after a technical foul on Ross for shoving.
Ross responded with a 3-pointer to stop Nebraska’s run and kickstart a 9-0 stretch for the Buckeyes to make it 48-39.
Both teams reached the double bonus with 9:36 to play and the score 54-44 Nebraska. Ohio State closed to 58-56 on a Thompson dunk with 4:42 to play.
Pitchford hit a 3-pointer to put Nebraska ahead 61-56. But after two free throws by Aaron Craft and two free throws by Shields, Della Valle hit a 3-pointer with 2:47 to play to pull Ohio State back within 63-61. Petteway fouled Ross on a dunk attempt, and Ross hit both free throws to tie the game at 63 with 1:52 to play.
Nebraska couldn’t get a good look at the other end, then Petteway was called for his fifth foul while defending Ross. His two free throws put Ohio State ahead 65-63.