Boston, MA - Ohio State withstood Cincinnati's comeback bid and took over down the stretch to avoid another loss in the Sweet 16, as the Buckeyes pulled out an 81-66 victory in the East Region semifinals.
Deshaun Thomas scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half to give the second-seeded Buckeyes a 12-point lead at the break, but Cincinnati erased the deficit after making several adjustments at halftime.
The run apparently took too much out of the sixth-seeded Bearcats, who were outscored 33-14 over the final 11-plus minutes to fall short.
Jared Sullinger totaled 23 points and 11 rebounds for Ohio State (30-7), which had lost in the regional semifinals the previous two years.
A date against another Big East opponent is on the horizon with a trip to the Final Four on the line, as top-seeded Syracuse escaped fourth-seeded Wisconsin in the lead-up to Thursday's nightcap at TD Garden.
Cashmere Wright hit four of the Bearcats' (26-11) nine three-pointers, finishing with a team-high 18 points.
The Sports Network