Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton throws down a dunk late in Saturday’s game against Ohio State.
LOS ANGELES — Malcolm Armstead had 14 points and seven rebounds as the No. 9 seed Wichita State Shockers held off a late charge from No. 2 Ohio State to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1965 with a 70-66 win.
Cleanthony Early and Fred VanVleet each scored 12 points for Wichita State (30-8), which notched its first 30-win season. Tekele Cotton chipped in 10 points for the Shockers, who will meet Louisville or Duke in Atlanta next Saturday in their second Final Four appearance in school history.
Deshaun Thomas scored 21 points for Ohio State (29-8), which failed in its bid to make the national semifinals for the second straight season. LaQuinton Ross added 19, including 15 in the second half.
The Shockers stretched their lead to as many as 20 in the second half, but Ohio State cut it to 62-59 in the final minutes before Wichita State closed with a 8-5 run.
Ohio State missed its first seven shots, but rebounded to knot it at 13 by hitting five of its next eight attempts. However, Wichita State held Ohio State to 3-of-18 shooting over the final 11:05 of the first half and used a 22-9 run to close the half for a 13-point advantage.
The Shockers continued to build their cushion in the second and stretched the margin to 20 three times - the last coming with 11:02 remaining - before the Buckeyes rallied to within three points behind a 28-11 surge over the next 8:14. But Cotton’s 3-pointer with 2:21 left doubled the lead to 65-59 and VanVleet’s jumper with a minute to go allowed Wichita State to close it out.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Wichita State became the first Missouri Valley Conference team to make the Final Four since Larry Bird led Indiana State to the 1979 title game. … Ohio State entered Saturday hitting 23 of its 46 3-pointers in the NCAA Tournament, but finished 5-for-25 against the Shockers. … The Buckeyes shot 31.1 percent Saturday. None of the Wichita State’s four NCAA Tournament opponents have shot better than 35.7 percent.