Sunday April 21st, 2024 10:41AM

Dogs hold on to beat Ohio State, advance to NIT semifinals

By Georgia Sports Communications

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Georgia men’s basketball team defeated Ohio State, 79-77, on Tuesday evening at the Value City Arena and advanced to the NIT semifinals for the first time since 1998.

The Bulldogs (20-16, 6-12 SEC) were led by Noah Thomasson, who scored 21 points, including four 3-pointers, to notch his fifth 20-point outing this season. Blue Cain earned 17 points and a personal best eight rebounds, while Frank Anselem-Ibe recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Georgia won the battle of the glass over the Buckeyes (22-14, 9-11 Big Ten) by a 38-37 margin, outrebounding its opponent for the 13th time this season. With the victory, the Bulldogs have now reached 20 wins on the season for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign.

"Our resiliency, our toughness, our willingness to want to continue to compete and keeping fighting to win another was on full display," Georgia coach Mike White said. "I’m just really proud of this group. NIT Semifinals, to get to Indianapolis and be a part of this thing, I’m really proud of our guys."

The Bulldogs jumped out to a seven-point lead after the first seven minutes but found themselves trailing, 27-23, after an offensive spurt from the Buckeyes, including a pair of 3-pointers. Georgia grew its lead up to 12 points after a 13-2 run to begin the second half, highlighted by a pair of triples from Cain.

Ohio State regained the lead, 70-64, with under five minutes to go after a 17-0 run before back-to-back 3-pointers from the Bulldogs tied the game. Both teams found their stride offensively down the stretch, trading baskets until Ohio State went into the under-four media timeout with a one-point advantage.

With 90 seconds remaining, the Bulldogs pulled out a stop on the defensive end and took the lead on the next possession after Thomasson used a step-back crossover to create separation and knock down the midrange jump shot. The Bulldogs found themselves up two points with 1.3 seconds left with the Buckeyes holding possession, missing the last 3-pointer to get the final stop needed to take the win.

“Really tough environment the other day, and an even tougher environment tonight," White said. "We’ve been on the road for a while. It feels like a month because we flew here straight from Winston-Salem. Credit their crowd, the environment was rocking. It was really loud, comparable to the top few SEC road environments that we competed in this year."

Georgia will face the winner of the No. 1 seed Seton Hall and UNLV game in the semifinal at Hinkle Fieldhouse, set to tip off on April 2 in Indianapolis. 

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