Ohio State started off hot from 3-point range, hitting seven of its first 12. But Houston burned the Buckeyes in transition to go on a 14-6 run to close the half with a 39-31 lead.
There was a brief skirmish right after the end of the first half. Ohio State’s Keyshawn Woods and Houston’s DeJon Jarreau were issued technical fouls after the teams jawed at midcourt. Houston’s Fabian White was held back by teammates and coaches.
A dunk by Chris Harris put the Cougars up 52-44 with just over 10 minutes remaining. A floater in the lane by Armoni Brooks pushed Houston’s lead to nine and led to a timeout by Ohio State. A transition layup by Davis pushed the advantage to 11 and the Cougars maintained control for good.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes finished 8-12 in Big Ten play and were seeded eighth in the conference tournament, so getting this far was an accomplishment. They lost four of five heading into the NCAA Tournament before upsetting Iowa State in the first round. Brothers Kaleb and Andre Wesson will be back next year to provide a solid foundation.
Houston: The Cougars continue to rebuild a program that had a 13-19 record in 2014-15. Houston hurt the Buckeyes inside and outside, overwhelmed the Buckeyes with depth and speed and pounced when Ohio State’s 3-point shooting came back down to Earth.