Duke spring NCAA Tournament shock with victory over No 2 seed Ohio State

Reigan Richardson scored 28 points and added seven rebounds as No. 7 seed Duke rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to beat No. 2 seed Ohio State 75-63 on Sunday for a berth in the Sweet for the first time since 2018 16 earned. .

Richardson hit a 3-pointer from the wing to put Duke up 59-57 with 5:21 left. That led to a 13-2 run by the Blue Devils, which started to put the game out of reach. Ashlon Jackson scored 13 points and Taina Mair added 11 for the Blue Devils, who travel to Oregon to play the winner of Syracuse and UConn next weekend.

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“We’re super proud of the way the team played today,” said Richardson, who averaged 11.9 points per game on the season. “I think we were 16 behind, and we didn’t let it get us down. We stayed together and were able to climb back.”

Duke’s upset victory marked only the second time in this tournament that a lower-seeded team had won. The higher seeds were 31-1 in the opening round.

Cotie McMahon led the Buckeyes with 27 points. Most of them were in the paint. Ohio State attempted just nine three-pointers in the game and didn’t make one until 12.2 seconds remained. Celeste Taylor, who transferred to Ohio State from Duke before the season, scored just six points before fouling out with 6:38 left in the game.

“They played better,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “They deserved to win. We didn’t play well today.”

Ohio State’s pressing defense caused Duke problems early as the Buckeyes built a 16-point lead. But the Blue Devils came roaring back. A 12-2 run cut the Buckeyes lead to 36-32 at halftime.

“These guys never backed down,” Duke coach Kara Lawson said. “They were locked up in the groups. They kept their faith even though it felt like we were running out of the gym at the start of the game. Possession after possession, we worked our way back.”

In the first round on Friday, Ohio State defeated No. 15 seed Maine 80-57. Duke rallied in the second half to defeat No. 10 seed Richmond.

McGuff said the Buckeyes fell apart on Sunday.

“We produced good shots early in the game in the first quarter and we rebounded the ball with energy and discipline,” he said. “As the game went on, we really got out of sync on offense, and Duke played really good defense, so they had a hand in that. Then we really broke down with our rebound.”