In front of another electric crowd, the Buckeyes unleashed a 23-8 run to start the second half turning a 31-30 halftime deficit into a 53-39 lead before coasting to a 74-63 victory over the #3 seeded Dayton Flyers tonight in the Schott.
The W sends the Buckeyes to their second straight Final Four (couldn't resist) where they'll face off against Ole Miss next Tuesday in New York City.
The decisive run saw the balanced Buckeyes receive two triples from The Ghost of Jon Diebler, 7 points from Jamar Butler, 6 from Evan Turner and 4 from Kosta Koufos while the D held the Flyers to 3/11 from the field.
Diebler finished with 10 points (3/5 FG) starting the second half in place of Othello Hunter due to foul trouble.
Though Dayton never threatened after the burst, it looked like the game would be a nailbiter early on as the Flyers received 11 first half points from stud guard Brian Roberts and outrebounded the Bucks 20-12 including a huge 8-2 advantage on the offensive glass to take a 31-26 lead with 1:18 to play before the dynamic duo of The Wiggler and PJ Hill combined to hit 4 free throws trimming the lead to 31-30 at the break.
The Flyers held Butler to 3 points in the first half as London Warren and others forced Jamar to expend energy bringing the ball up court against constant pressure. As in past games, Matta countered by having Evan Turner bring the ball into the front court for much of the second half allowing Butler to work off screens. The strategy paid off as Butler scored 10 second half points on 4/9 shooting in addition to dishing 7 dimes.
Koufos was a prime benefactor of Butler's looks scoring a game high 21 points on 9/11 shooting while Turner bounced back from a shaky couple weeks with 11 points, 8 boards and 3 assists against just 1 turnover.
David Lighty added 9 points with 7 of those coming in the nip and tuck first half to go along with 3 boards and 3 steals.
For the game, the Bucks shot 53% on the strength of a blistering 15/25 (60%) in the second half but were outrebounded 35-25 by the active Flyers.
Roberts led Dayton with 20 points while stud freshman Chris Wright added 12 in 18 minutes including a highlight reel dunk over Hunter but in the end, the Flyers didn't have the horses to take down the Buckeyes at home.