PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points and rallied Ohio State from an early 12-point deficit as the 10th-seeded Buckeyes beat seventh-seeded VCU 75-72 in overtime in a thrilling NCAA Tournament opener Thursday.
Russell regrouped from a blow that sent blood streaming down the left side of his face near the end of regulation, showing just why many believe he will be a top pick in this summer’s NBA draft. He made 10 of 20 shots, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, and added six rebounds, two steals and two blocks to bring the Buckeyes (24-10) back in both halves and overtime.
Amir Williams added 13 points, and Jae’Sean Tate scored 12 to help Ohio State avoid a second straight one-and-done showing in the tournament.
The Atlantic 10 champion Rams (26-10) lost another heartbreaker in the first round as coach Shaka Smart’s team struggled to consistently create the “havoc” that carried them to an improbable 2011 Final Four run.