COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Matt Sylvester, who hit the 3-pointer that
dashed No. 1 Illinois' unbeaten season last March, hit one with 5.5
seconds left Saturday to cap a furious Ohio State comeback and keep
the 21st-ranked Buckeyes undefeated with a 78-76 victory over LSU.
Ohio State (10-0) trailed by 15 points with just over 5½ minutes
left and was down by 10 with 2½ minutes remaining before making
every big play imaginable down the stretch.
LSU (7-4), rattled near the end with a lineup dominated by
freshmen, was led by Glen "Big Baby" Davis' 25 points. Darrel
Mitchell added 16, Tyrus Thomas had 14 points, 11 rebounds and five
blocked shots and Tasmin Mitchell had 12 points.
Davis' basket off a backdoor lob pass with 3:23 left gave the
Tigers a 76-66 lead. But that was the final points for an LSU team
that had three freshmen in the starting lineup and six among its
top nine players.
Foster hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:25 left and,
after a miss by Davis, Sylvester's 3-pointer bounced around the rim
before falling with 1:44 left, cutting the lead to 76-72.
Darrel Mitchell's 3-pointer was off the mark and Dials
rebounded. The Buckeyes pulled within a point on point guard Jamar
Butler's only 3-pointer of the game as the clock hit the 1-minute
After a timeout, the Tigers tried to regroup but Thomas'
off-balance driving layup missed and the ball ended up going out of
bounds off an Ohio State player with 36 seconds left. LSU inbounded
again and guard Ben Voogd patiently dribbled out front. He passed
quickly to Davis, whose hurried air ball from 18 feet resulted in a
shot-clock violation with 22 seconds left.
Ohio State called a timeout and then tried to work the ball
inside to Dials, but Foster ended up sandwiched between two
defenders at the free throw line. The ball popped loose for an
instant and he regained it, awkwardly tossing a pass to Sylvester
who was unguarded in the left corner. Sylvester set his feet, took
his time and hit nothing but net on the 3-pointer as a crowd of
The teams traded timeouts before Voogd brought the ball up the
court and passed to Davis, whose 20-footer with a second left was
off the mark, Thomas failing to tip it in as the buzzer sounded.
The game was a perfect follow-up to the last meeting between the
teams. LSU beat the Buckeyes 113-101 in double overtime on Jan. 15,
2005. Eleven players scored in double figures, and the Tigers
outrebounded the Buckeyes -- who hit a school-record 18 3-pointers --
LSU, leading the nation in rebounding margin, backed up that
statistic with a 35-29 advantage on Saturday, its young and
talented front line dominating beneath the baskets except for when
Dials was making one-on-one moves.
The Tigers led by 13 points in the first half only to have the
Buckeyes cut it to 43-39 at halftime.
Ohio State came in as one of only nine unbeatens left in
Division I, the first time it had opened 9-0 since the 1990-91 team
won its first 17 games.