The Jacks ended the season 28-7. After missing nearly two weeks (and three games, including Ohio State's upset at Purdue), the redshirt senior returned to the lineup.
However Ohio State's Kam Williams scored a four-point play to regain the lead for the Buckeyes, then nailed three free-throws on the ensuing possession after being fouled a second-consecutive time from long-range. But Ohio State wouldn't be denied on this day in Boise, Idaho, as Buckeye star Keita Bates-Diop (24 points) out-dueled South Dakota State star Mike Daum (27 points).
Preview: No 5 Ohio State v No 12 South Dakota State - Land-Grant.
David Jenkins Jr. and Brandon Key each had 16 points as Jenkins buried all six of his free throws and Key sank a career-high four 3-pointers in addition to four assists.
Saturday college basketball action features a Field of 32 matchup between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Jackrabbits shoot 47 percent overall and 40 percent from behind the three-point line.
Gonzaga did not play well versus UNC Greensboro and that has to change against Ohio State. He went 4-of-5 on 3-pointers after entering the game just 9-of-36 on the year.
Ohio State pushed the pace with 18 points off of fast breaks versus an opposing 2 points off of fast breaks.
"The whole team is excited for this one", Bates-Diop said. If not, he will always be remembered for helping his squad get their first win in the NCAA Tournament since 2015 after an incredible (and surprising) regular season.
"They're very well-schooled and disciplined, and those guys stepped up and made big plays throughout the second half", South Dakota State coach T.J. Otzelberger said.
Bench scoring was controlled by South Dakota State with 16 points off the bench compared to Ohio State's 7 points. Jenkins finished 4-for-17 from the floor and 2-for-3 from the 3-point arc. Totals 24-63 12-14 73.
The teams tied it up 43-43 at the half.