Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross reacts after his game-winner.
LOS ANGELES -- Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross drained a deep 3-pointer with two seconds left to lift the Buckeyes to the Elite Eight with a 73-70 win over Arizona on Thursday night at Staples Center.
After Wildcats guard Mark Lyons scored an and-one with a layup and free throw with 21 seconds left, Ohio State set up for a final play.
Aaron Craft found a wide-open Ross well behind the 3-point line on the perimeter, and Ross calmly dropped a bomb on the Wildcats while clinching a second straight Elite Eight berth. The Buckeyes are the only team to advance to the Sweet 16 the last four years, but they were knocked out in that round the first two years before advancing to the Final Four last season.
The Buckeyes appeared to be heading to a surprising exit for much of the first half, when Arizona led by double figures. Ohio State played careful basketball -- committing just eight turnovers, though they had just nine assists -- and held Arizona to 39 percent shooting from the field in the second half.
Lyons led all scorers with 23 points, but the Wildcats had just one other player in double figures, Solomon Hill, who scored 16.
Ohio State had four players in double digits, led by Deshaun Thomas’ 20. Ross had 17, Craft 13 and Sam Thompson 11 for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State fell behind by 11 points in the first half but cut the gap with a 12-5 run heading into the locker room to make it 38-34 Arizona.
Arizona shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and held the Buckeyes to 40 percent, despite Thomas’ 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Lyons had 10 points at the half to lead Arizona. Thompson added nine points and six rebounds in the first half for Ohio State.
NOTES: Arizona, along with Oregon, gave the Pac-12 its first pair of Sweet 16 berths since 2008, when Stanford UCLA and Washington State all reached the regional semifinals. … Lyons’ scoring explosion should not be a surprise. He led the Wildcats with 25 points per game in the team’s first two NCAA Tournament wins over Belmont and Harvard. … Likewise, Thomas entered the Sweet 16 on fire, having scored 23 points per game in tournament wins over Iona and Iowa State. … Arizona held Belmont and Harvard to a combined 33 percent shooting from the field in the first two rounds. … Ohio State owns the best record in the Big Ten since the beginning of the 2004-05 season, Matta’s first year, at 249-72. … The Wildcats, who hit 5 of 8 3-pointers in the first half against the Buckeyes, led the Pac-12 with 7.7 3-pointers per game.