ST. LOUIS -- Quick thoughts from Ohio State 42, Tennessee 39:
Very good game so far -- close, competitive, well-played offensively, a lot of open shots going in, neither team able to take command. Tennessee is the physically superior team -- bigger and better athletes. But Ohio State has more skill and a bit better shot selection.
Ohio State shot a smoking 56 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3-point range. Tennessee shot 46 percent and 50 percent from 3.
After falling behind 11-4 almost immediately, Tennessee tightened its defense considerably. The Volunteers went on a 13-2 run for a four-point lead, and after that it was back and forth the rest of the half.
Ohio State was in an early crisis when David Lighty got his second foul with 13:43 left in the half and went to the bench. But the Buckeyes got a nice lift off the bench from Jeremie Simmons, who made three 3-pointers. He was the hot man late while William Buford (12 points) was the scorer early for Ohio State.
National Player of the Year Evan Turner had to work for his stats, particularly when guarded by pesky point guard Melvin Goins. But at intermission his numbers look like they always look: 10 points, three rebounds, four assists. You cannot shut him out of the box score.
Cameron Tatum did not miss for Tennessee. Made all three field goals and all three free throws for a team-high 11 points in just nine minutes. J.P. Prince continued his stellar NCAA tournament play with nine points, three assists and no turnovers.
Players and coaches alike were unhappy with the officiating, especially the first 12 or so minutes. The refs were calling it closely and mysteriously for a while, and it took a while for everyone to adjust.