Hemsley helps Miami shoot down Ohio State, 75-62

Southern alum's 4 threes drill hole in Buckeyes' hopes of Final Four return

South at Nashville, Tenn.

Ncaa Tournament

March 20, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said Miami was just bigger.

That statement can go for both the size advantage the Hurricanes had at virtually every position and how the team played overall in its 75-62 win in front of a sold-out Gaylord Entertainment Center yesterday in the second round of the NCAA South Regional.

The bigger reference is also appropriate for Hurricanes guard Johnny Hemsley's play. Hemsley, out of Southern High in Baltimore, scored a game-high 24 points, six more than his average. He shot 4-for-9 from three-point territory, with the most impressive one breaking a 50-50 tie with eight minutes left.

Hemsley added another three-pointer two possessions later to put the sixth-seeded Hurricanes (23-10) up 56-51 with six minutes left and helped contribute to a 14-1 run that sealed the game.

"As of late, I've been playing well," Hemsley said. "A lot of it I owe to Coach [Leonard Hamilton]. Early in the season, I was struggling a little bit and my confidence was down. He always kept his faith in me, and my teammates kept their faith in me.

"Just because the stakes were a little high this game, it may have seemed like it was one of my best games. But I've been playing like this for the last couple of games."

Hemsley played all 40 minutes, as did guard Vernon Jennings and forward Elton Tyler, who scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Tyler gave Hamilton what former Miami player Tim James gave the team last year -- strong post play and rebounding. More importantly, he made up for senior center Mario Bland's off-day offensively.

"It's been difficult for [Tyler] to understand that we need him to play his best each and every night for us to be successful," Hamilton said.

Tyler and Hemsley helped the Hurricanes shoot 51 percent for the game, but were even more impressive containing Ohio State. The size advantage helped aid Miami's defense, which kept Ohio State (23-7) without a field goal through two key stretches. The latter came during the 14-1 run when the Buckeyes went almost nine minutes between field goals.

Miami also out-rebounded Ohio State, 41-26, with 11 coming from Bland.

"They are every bit as good a defensive team as we have played all year," O'Brien said. "We had some opportunities to make some baskets, but we didn't. It was probably a combination of those things."

Losing forward Michael Redd to fouls with 4: 17 remaining also didn't help Ohio State.

It was one of those games that Redd may not want to remember. The junior forward blew an uncontested, fast-break dunk with time winding down in the first half, which led to a three-pointer by Miami forward John Salmons at the buzzer, giving his team a 36-31 lead.

The dunk would have tied the game and salvaged a half in which Ohio State had led by seven with seven minutes left. The Buckeyes went the next six minutes without scoring, while Miami put in the game's next 10 points to take the lead.

"They are physical down low and physical in the backcourt," said Redd, who finished with 13 points. "They were very aggressive the whole game, especially when they got the lead.

"It was frustrating. I fouled out with like five minutes left. I was hoping Coach would sub me in the game, but he couldn't because I had fouled out. If it is your last game of the tournament, you don't want to be sitting on the bench."

Miami will make its first Sweet 16 appearance against Tulsa next week.

The game marked the end of Buckeyes guard Scoonie Penn's collegiate career. Penn, who along with Redd was instrumental in getting the team to the Final Four last year, led the team with 19 points.

"We are a team that could have moved on," Penn said. "We just didn't play well enough today to move on, and that hurts because a couple of us have come to the end of our careers in college. It is hard to accept."

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