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Mar 26, 2024 9:26 pm

Georgia fends off Ohio State to punch ticket to NIT semis

georgia ohio state

Noah Thomasson scored 21 points, including the go-ahead basket, and No. 4 seed Georgia downed No. 2 Ohio State 79-77 in the quarterfinals of the NIT on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.

Jamison Battle’s 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Buckeyes the win hit the rim.

Georgia (20-16) will play the winner of the game Wednesday between Seton Hall and UNLV. The semifinal is April 2 at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The final is there on April 4.

Ohio State (22-14) used 17-0 run to leap ahead 70-64 after trailing by 13 points midway in the second half.

After Thomasson made it 77-76 for the Bulldogs, Battle missed a 3-pointer and Georgia’s Blue Cain made two foul shots for a three-point lead with 25 seconds left.

Thornton made one of two from the line for the Buckeyes to make it 79-77 with 19 seconds remaining, and a steal by Dale Bonner set Ohio State up for a shot with 10 seconds left coming out of a timeout.

Thornton missed a 3-pointer but after a scramble for the rebound, the ball went to Ohio State with 1.2 seconds left for the final try by Battle.

Cain had 17 points and Frank Anselem-Ibe scored 10 for the Bulldogs.

Battle led the Buckeyes with 22 points, Thornton scored 13, Felix Okpara added 12 and Roddy Gayle Jr. had 11.

The game had five ties and 13 lead changes.

Georgia played its third NIT quarterfinal and first since 1998. The Bulldogs’ best finish was advancing to the semifinals in 1982 and 1998.

This was Ohio State’s first quarterfinal since winning the tournament in 2008. The Buckeyes were also champions in 1986.

Ohio State finished 8-3 for head coach Jake Diebler since Chris Holtmann was fired on Feb. 14.

Georgia led 36-35 after an entertaining first half that had runs for both teams and plenty of dunks, especially for the Buckeyes.

Okpara led all scorers with 10 points. Of his five dunks, the first three were off alley-oops. He added another slam unassisted to give the Buckeyes a 33-32 advantage.

Gayle dunked for a 35-34 lead before Silas Demary Jr. scored on the rebound of his own shot with three seconds left to put the Bulldogs ahead going to the locker room.

–Field Level Media

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