PITTSBURGH (WCMH) — No. 7 Ohio State came up short in a second half comeback attempt against No. 2 Villanova with the Buckeyes falling 71-61 on Sunday in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

OSU trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half but clawed its way back to make it a two-point game with five minutes left to play. But the Wildcats outscored the Buckeyes 11-3 to end the game and end Ohio State’s 2021-22 season.

True freshman Malaki Branham led all scorers with 23 points for the Buckeyes while E.J. Liddell contributed 17 points in the loss.

Villanova was led by Collin Gillespie who dropped 20 points while four Wildcats scored in double figures in the win.

Ohio State and Villanova were nearly identical in field goal and three-point percentage but the Wildcats made 11 more free throws and outscored OSU in the paint.

2nd Half Photo Gallery

GAME THREAD:

FINAL: Villanova 71 Ohio State 61

Villanova 67 Ohio State 59 – 1:27 – 2nd Half

Villanova big man Eric Dixon drains a three-pointer and gives the Wildcats an eight-point lead.

Villanova 64 Ohio State 59 – 3:38 – 2nd Half

Villanova stops the bleeding with two-straight baskets. CBS is reporting Kyle Young will not return to the game.

Villanova 60 Ohio State 58 – 5:04 – 2nd Half

Jamari Wheeler hits a three-pointer and the Buckeyes are on a 15-5 run.

Villanova 57 Ohio State 51 – 7:56 – 2nd Half

Kyle Yong leaves the game after hitting his head off of Gillespie’s shoulder. Young just returned from concussion protocol against Loyola. Malaki Branham has 19 points and has made his last five shots to pull OSU within two possessions of Villanova.

Villanova 55 Ohio State 43 – 11:43 – 2nd Half

Ohio State has made four of its last five shots but the Wildcats have had an answer on offense each time. Collin Gillespie scored at the 12:42 mark, his first field goal since the 12:25 mark of the first half.

Villanova 48 Ohio State 39 – 13:36 – 2nd Half

Ohio State goes on a 6-0 scoring run sparked by Kyle Young and Malaki Branham.

Villanova 48 Ohio State 33 – 15:52 – 2nd Half

Villanova has four scorers in double figures and is outscoring OSU 20-8 in the paint for its biggest lead of the game.

HALF: Villanova 39 Ohio State 28

Halftime Stats:

Ohio State: 10-of 26 shooting (38.5%), 5-of-12 three-pointers (41.7%), 11 rebounds, 6 turnovers, 6 assists

Villanova: 13-of-25 shooting (52%), 4-of-10 three-pointers (40%), 19 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers

The Wildcats are outscoring OSU 16-8 in the paint.

Notable Players:

E.J. Liddell (OSU): 12 points, 4-of-7 shooting, 2-of-2 three-pointers, 3 rebounds, 3 steals

Malaki Branham (OSU): 8 points, 3-of-7 shooting, 2-of-4 three-pointers, 2 assists, 2 turnovers

Collin Gillespie (Nova): 12 points, 3-of-6 shooting, 2-of-5 three-pointers, 4-of-4 free throws, 0 turnovers

Jermaine Samuels: 9 points, 4-of-6 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers

1st Half Photo Gallery:

Villanova 33 Ohio State 22 – 3:49 – 1st Half

Villanova has its biggest lead of the game after scoring six unanswered points. OSU center Zed Key has two fouls. The Buckeyes have six turnovers and in eight of their last 11 games, they’ve had more turnovers than assists.

Villanova 23 Ohio State 15 – 7:31 – 1st Half

Ohio State is struggling from three-point range so far. Buckeyes are 2-of-7 from distance while Villanova is 3-of-8. Both teams have four turnovers.

Villanova 21 Ohio State 11 – 10:55 – 1st Half

Villanova has made six of its last seven shots in a five-minute span. Wildcats are shooting 61% from the field compared to 31% by OSU.

Villanova 17 Ohio State 7 – 12:21 – 1st Half

Villanova’s leading scorer this season, Collin Gillespie, has scored 10-straight points and the Wildcats lead OSU 17-7. Ohio State is shooting 2-of-10 from the field with three turnovers.

Villanova 7 Ohio State 3 – 15:17 – 1st Half

At the first media timeout, Ohio State trails Villanova 7-3. The Buckeyes have started slow once again offensively with one basket on seven attempts.

No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes

An upset win for Ohio State would send the Buckeyes to its first Sweet 16 since 2013 and a meeting with its biggest rivals in the Wolverines.

OSU reached the second round after a low-scoring 54-41 win over Loyola Chicago.

That strong defensive performance for the Buckeyes was historic as the fourth best defensive outing in the program’s tournament history.

Star forward E.J. Liddell registered his ninth double-double of the season in the win Friday with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

No. 2 Villanova Wildcats

Basketball powerhouse Villanova is hoping to beat the Buckeyes and make the program’s fourth Sweet 16 since 2016.

Villanova cruised past Delaware 80-60 in the first round with the Wildcats burying 13 three-pointers, a typical clip for the 14th-best three-point shooting team in the country.

The Wildcats have four players who average double digits in scoring with three of those players shooting 40% or better from three-point range.

South Region Bracket

  • No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 9 TCU (9:40pm)
  • No. 5 Houston 68 No. 4 Illinois 53
  • No. 11 Michigan 76, No. 3 Tennessee 68
  • No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 7 Ohio State (2:40pm)