Final - OT
  for this game

Lewis, Conley Jr. bail out Ohio State

Mar 17, 2007 - 9:58 PM LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Down to its last shot, Ohio State got a second chance from Ron Lewis. Freshman Mike Conley Jr. then made the most of it.

Lewis hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left in regulation to tie the game and Conley was a one-man show to start overtime as top-seeded Ohio State survived with a 78-71 victory over ninth-seeded Xavier, advancing to the semifinals of the South Region in the NCAA Tournament.

This battle of Ohio may have gone to the Musketeers if Justin Cage would have made the second of two free throws with 9.3 seconds to go. He didn't and Xavier chose not to foul with a 62-59 lead.

It was a decision Lewis would make look foolish.

The senior made a 3-pointer from the top of the key to force overtime. Xavier had plenty of chances to foul as Ohio State brought the ball up court but did not. Lewis was freed up on a screen and made the shot.

"On the three, I was just trying to get an open look," Lewis said. "I told Mike (Conley) before we left the huddle and he found me and I got the open look."

After Justin Doellman gave the Musketeers a 64-62 lead in the opening moments of the extra session, Conley took over, making up for the loss of standout freshman center Greg Oden, who fouled out when he shoved Cage out of bounds in the closing seconds of regulation.

Conley gave the Buckeyes the lead, 65-64, with a 3-pointer and added a pair of layups to cap his personal 7-0 run and give Ohio State a 69-64 lead.

Freshman Daequan Cook extended the lead to 72-64 with a 3-pointer and Xavier was done from there. A fast-break dunk by Doellman made it 72-67, but Conley converted two free throws with 1:03 for a 74-67 advantage.

Lewis scored 27 points for Ohio State, which will meet either Tennessee or Virginia in San Antonio on Thursday.

"I could not be prouder of what our guys did in keeping their composure," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "Xavier went on a blitz to start the second half, making their shots. (Xavier coach Sean Miller) did an excellent job of moving his kids around on offense. He really toyed with the matchups well."

Cage scored 25 points for Xavier, which was looking to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2004.

Cage was 8-of-8 from the field but his late miss from the line proved costly. He was fouled hard by Oden on the play. It looked like Oden would pick up not only his fifth foul but an intentional as well after shoving Cage hard out of bounds, but it was not called.

"I'm just upset that we lost the game," Cage said. "It was a game that we thought we could win. I'm kind of let down, but it was a great game."

A great game that had a tough ending for the Musketeers but Miller defended the decision not to foul.

"There is no doubt that in myself, that we would prevent a 3-point shot from going up," Miller said. "There was too much time. Honestly, I still thought about doing it but we did not have any more timeouts. That is a hard thing to do without a timeout.

"It's hard to do with nine seconds because if you foul at five or six seconds, generally speaking, it's going to be a rush up the floor and that still allows too much time, for example, if he makes both free throws and cuts it to one, then they foul. Now you have the same situation and you now may be in a situation to lose the game with five seconds to go. With four seconds to go and you only make one of two (free throws) a 3-point shot beats you."

Oden scored 14 points and had 12 rebounds, but he had a pair of costly misses from the free-throw line down the stretch before he was bailed out by Lewis and Conley, who scored 21 points.

"We still have another game, hopefully four more games," Oden said. "But we're happy we got these two (wins)."