Gas shortage causes Ohio State#039;s season to stall

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2003

ATLANTA - Coach Paul Hewitt wanted Georgia Tech to avoid an emotional letdown some teams experience in the first round of the NIT.

''I thought tonight was the best we've executed in the last five to eight minutes of a game,'' Hewitt said. ''We want to become a smarter team, especially down the stretch of games.''

Chris Bosh scored 18 points and B.J. Elder added 12 as Tech beat Ohio State 72-58 Wednesday night.

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The Yellow Jackets (15-14) will play the Iowa-Iowa State winner in the second round.

Ohio State (17-15), which lost 72-59 to No. 13 Illinois in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, was playing its first game without Zach Williams. The junior forward was suspended for arguing with the Buckeyes' coaching staff against the Illini.

''I thought our kids played very, very hard,'' Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. ''We just ran out of gas. We just didn't have enough. We had a really good effort, and with about eight or nine minutes to go, we were still in the hunt.''

Two front-line starters, Shun Jenkins and Velimir Radinovic, fouled out for Ohio State as the second half was winding down. Without them, the Buckeyes couldn't overcome a size disadvantage inside.

''They just kept going inside,'' O'Brien said of Georgia Tech. ''It really hurt us.''

Sean Connolly led the Buckeyes with 16 points, and Brent Darby had 12. The second half was a nightmare for the two guards, who were a combined 2-for-13 from the floor. Ohio State shot 26.7 after leading 35-34 at halftime.

''Brent Darby is a great player, coming in here averaging 18 points a game,'' Yellow Jackets point guard Jarrett Jack said. ''We did a pretty good job on him. He was really on fire in the first half, and we just wanted to limit his touches in the second half.''

Georgia Tech, coming off a 71-65 loss to North Carolina State in the first round of the ACC tournament, broke the game open after Matt Sylvester's layup cut the Yellow Jackets' lead to 48-47 with 12:13 remaining.

Ismai'il Muhammad ended an 18-4 run nearly eight minutes later with a reverse jam that put Georgia Tech ahead 66-51.

Freshman forward Theodis Tarver made his first career start, scoring nine points for the Yellow Jackets. Tarver replaced center Luke Schenscher in the lineup. Schenscher, who played only 57 seconds Friday, stayed on the bench the entire game.

Ohio State came in with a 10-1 record and eight straight wins against the Yellow Jackets, their last matchup coming in the second round of the 1991 NCAA tournament, when Ohio State won 65-61.

Bosh, named Wednesday as the ACC rookie of the year, hit all three of his field-goal shots and pulled down five of his seven rebounds in the second half.

''The thing that's been most impressive to me about Chris is that he's such an intelligent player,'' Hewitt said. ''When people have made adjustments to slow him down, he's always had an answer. His ability to shoot the ball makes him a tough guy to cover.''