Shockers upset Ohio State to reach Final Four
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, March 30, 2013, 11:24 p.m.
LOS ANGELES — These Shockers should be no surprise to anybody.
Not after the way the Wichita State held off mighty Ohio State in the West Regional final.
Malcolm Armstead scored 14 points, Fred Van Vleet bounced in a big basket with 1 minute left, and ninth-seeded Wichita State earned its first trip to the Final Four since 1965 with a 70-66 victory over Ohio State on Saturday.
Van Vleet scored 12 points as the Shockers (30-8) followed up last week's win over top-ranked Gonzaga with a nail-biting victory over the second-seeded Buckeyes (29-8), whose 11-game winning streak ended one game short of their second straight Final Four.
Wichita State roared to a 20-point lead with 11 minutes to play after Ohio State played an awful first half, but LaQuinton Ross scored 15 of his 19 points after halftime, leading a ferocious rally to within three points in the final minutes.
But after Tekele Cotton hit a 3-pointer with 2:20 left, VanVleet scored on a shot that bounced all over the rim before dropping. Ron Baker and Cotton hit last-minute free throws to secure the second Final Four trip in Wichita State's history.
Wichita State is just the fifth team seeded ninth or higher to reach the Final Four since seeding began in 1979, but the second in three years following 11th-seeded VCU's improbable run in 2011.
The Shockers are also the kings of Kansas, reaching the national semifinals after the powerful Jayhawks and Kansas State both went down.
Deshaun Thomas scored 21 points after missing nine of his first 12 shots for the Buckeyes, who made just 24 percent of their first-half shots. Aaron Craft scored nine points on 2 for 12 shooting for the Buckeyes, who dug a hole too deep to escape with their second-half rally.
But after two weeks of upsets in the wild West bracket, underdog Wichita State was an appropriate choice to cut down Staples Center's nets. The Shockers' well-balanced roster managed built that enormous lead with the same consummate team play that they've shown throughout the tournament.
Two sections packed with cheering Shockers fans provided all the encouragement necessary for a team that didn't win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and was thought to be a bubble team for an NCAA berth. Now, Wichita State is the MVC's first Final Four team since Larry Bird led Indiana State to the title game in 1979.
Another giant awaits the Shockers in Atlanta next weekend: They'll face the winner of Sunday's Midwest Regional final between Duke and Louisville.
Seven seasons after underdog George Mason crashed the Final Four and underlined college basketball's growing parity, the Shockers are the latest smallish school to get on a big roll in the tournament.
Butler made the national championship game in 2010 and 2011, and the Bulldogs were joined by that VCU team in the Final Four two years ago.
This year's tournament included stunning wins by Florida Gulf Coast, La Salle and Harvard, but nobody kept it going longer than Wichita State.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Gorman: Pitt should be happy with Dixon
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- Burrell’s Edwards 1 of 4 WPIAL wrestlers to reach PIAA Class AA finals
- Free-throw shooting keys Fox Chapel’s opening-round win
- Derry’s Phillippi upset in PIAA quarterfinals
- ‘The Honeymooners’ actress Sheila McCrae dies at 92
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- St. Vincent falls in Division III tournament
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Pirates seek to tap Alvarez’s remaining upside