Houston’s fans chanted “Sweet 16” in the final minute of the Cougars’ NCAA Tournament win over Ohio State.
The celebration was long overdue — 35 years, to be exact — since the Cougars have made this trip.
Corey Davis scored 21 points to help Houston defeat Ohio State 74-59 in a second-round Midwest Region game Sunday night. It marked the Cougars’ 33rd win of the season — breaking the record set by the 1983-84 team for the most wins in a season. That squad was the last to reach the Sweet 16 and advanced to the national final.
Galen Robinson added 13 points for Houston (33-3), which will face Kentucky.
C.J. Jackson scored 18 points and Kaleb Wesson added 15 for Ohio State (20-15).
Ohio State started off hot from 3-point range, hitting seven of its first 12. But Houston burned the Buckeyes in transition to go on a 14-6 run to close the half with a 39-31 lead.
There was a brief skirmish right after the end of the first half. Ohio State’s Keyshawn Woods and Houston’s DeJon Jarreau were issued technical fouls after the teams jawed at midcourt. Houston’s Fabian White was held back by teammates and coaches.
A dunk by Chris Harris put the Cougars up 52-44 with just over 10 minutes remaining. A floater in the lane by Armoni Brooks pushed Houston’s lead to nine and led to a timeout by Ohio State. A transition layup by Davis pushed the advantage to 11 and the Cougars maintained control for good.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes finished 8-12 in Big Ten play and were seeded eighth in the conference tournament, so getting this far was an accomplishment. They lost four of five heading into the NCAA Tournament before upsetting Iowa State in the first round. Brothers Kaleb and Andre Wesson will be back next year to provide a solid foundation.
Houston: The Cougars continue to rebuild a program that had a 13-19 record in 2014-15. Houston hurt the Buckeyes inside and outside, overwhelmed the Buckeyes with depth and speed and pounced when Ohio State’s 3-point shooting came back down to Earth.
Houston will play Kentucky in the Sweet 16.