Friday, March 19, 1999

OHIO STATE 72, AUBURN 64


Penn sparks Buckeyes with 26 points

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Ohio State's dream season lives on. Not long after the stroke of midnight, the Buckeyes completed their 72-64 victory over top-seeded Auburn to advance to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight in the South Regional at Thompson-Boling Arena at the University of Tennessee.

        “The thing that just keeps hitting me between the eyes is the way these guys have constantly come back to try to accomplish a little bit more,” Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. “Just when I ask myself, "Are they capable of going on and doing more?' they surprise me and go on and do some more.”

        The 14th-ranked and fourth-seeded Buckeyes (26-8), just 8-22 a year ago, will play No. 3 seed St. John's, beat No.2-seeded Maryland 76-62 Thursday night. The Red Storm are 28-8 and have won 11 of their past 13 games.

        The winner Saturday night advances to the Final Four.

        Auburn (29-4), ranked No. 4 in the country, was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 years. Houston Rockets star Charles Barkley, the best player in school history, was on hand to see his Tigers play despite having a game in Denver on Wednesday night and a practice in Houston today.

        The Tigers were held to 17.8 points below their scoring average (81.8).

        Ohio State junior Scoonie Penn scored 13 of his game-high 26 points in the final 10 minutes. After the final buzzer, Penn sent the ball flying into the air.

        It appeared the biggest play of the game would be Penn's fourth personal foul, called on a reach-in against Auburn's Chris Porter. That sent the Buckeyes' floor leader to the bench with 13:23 left.

        OSU led 44-41 at the time and hadn't trailed in the second half.

        With Penn out, Auburn went on an 11-2 run and took its biggest lead of the night at 52-46.

        With 10:14 remaining, Penn checked back in.

        He promptly hit a three-pointer. A minute later, he hit a short running baseline jumper. The Auburn lead was down to 52-51.

        The Tigers missed three straight shots, then turned the ball over three times in a row.

        When Michael Redd fed Jason Singleton inside for a layup, OSU regained the lead 55-54 with 5:43 to play.

        It was back and forth until the final three minutes. That's when the Buckeyes pulled away from a 61-61 tie with nine consecutive points.

        The game was over by the time Auburn scored again with 6.5 seconds left.

        “It's one of those game where whoever had the big run at the end was gong to win,” Penn said. “We showed a lot of heart tonight. I'm at a loss for words right now. We defied the odds.”

        Ohio State finished the first half on a 10-2 run to go ahead 31-26 at intermission — the biggest lead for either team to that point.

        Auburn did not have a field goal for the final 41/2 minutes before the break. A 65 percent free throw shooting team, Auburn was only 6-of-11 from the foul line in the first half.

        Penn, who had missed his first four shots and started the game 1-of-6 from the field, made the last two first-half baskets for OSU, including a three-pointer with 18 seconds left for the five-point advantage.

        Redd scored 22 points for the Buckeyes.

        Porter, a second-team All-American and the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, scored 15 points before fouling out with 1:57 left.

        Scott Pohlman (11.9 ppg), who had a career-high 28 points in Auburn's second-round victory over Oklahoma State, had zero in the first half and finished with just seven points.

MARCH MADNESS PAGE


OHIO ST (72)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Singleton       21   3-4   1-3   1-2  1  4    7
Redd            36  9-19   3-4  3-10  2  2   22
Johnson         25   2-4   0-2   1-2  0  4    4
Brown           33   2-9   4-6   1-6  4  0    9
Penn            36  9-16   4-4   0-3  4  4   26
Coleman          4   0-1   0-0   1-3  0  0    0
Savovic         12   1-3   0-0   0-0  0  1    2
Sanderson        6   0-2   0-1   2-2  0  1    0
Reese           27   1-4   0-3   1-3  0  0    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 27-62 12-23 10-31 11 16   72
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.435, FT-.522. 3-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (Redd 1-3, Brown 1-4, Penn 4-7, Coleman 0-1, Savovic 0-2). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 3 (Brown, Johnson, Penn). Turnovers: 9 (Redd 2, Reese 2, Brown, Johnson, Sanderson, Savovic, Singleton). Steals: 7 (Penn 3, Brown, Redd, Reese, Singleton).

AUBURN (64) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp B Smith 33 4-9 2-2 2-2 1 1 10 Porter 32 6-10 1-2 3-11 2 5 15 Ndiaye 34 1-3 1-2 3-11 1 3 3 Robinson 33 5-13 2-3 0-0 6 3 14 Pohlman 24 2-8 2-2 0-2 3 2 7 Sharp 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Heard 9 0-3 1-2 0-1 0 1 1 Fishback 23 4-10 1-2 4-9 1 1 12 Mcgadney 6 1-3 0-0 0-1 0 1 2 A Smith 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Chilliest 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 23-59 10-15 12-37 14 17 64 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.390, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals: 8-22, .364 (B Smith 0-3, Porter 2-3, Robinson 2-3, Pohlman 1-5, Heard 0-2, Fishback 3-6). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 3 (Ndiaye 3). Turnovers: 18 (Porter 5, Ndiaye 4, Robinson 3, B Smith 2, Pohlman 2, Chilliest, Fishback). Steals: 5 (B Smith 2, Heard, Mcgadney, Ndiaye). __________________________________ Ohio St 31 41 - 72 Auburn 26 38 - 64 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 23,898. Officials: Tim Higgins, Lonnie Dixon, Dick Cartmell.