DAYTON, Ohio — Aaron Craft dribbled in place at the top of the arc, watching to see if any of his Ohio State teammates were getting open near the basket for a game-winning shot.
The point guard had a clear look at the clock as it raced toward zero atop the backboard. He realized what he had to do — take a little Ohio State tournament history into his hands.
Craft held the ball until he had no other choice, then swished a 3-pointer with a half-second left Sunday for a 78-75 victory over Iowa State, sending the Buckeyes to a school-record fourth straight trip to the round of 16.
No. 2 Ohio State had managed to escape as the lone high seed left in the NCAA tournament’s most-busted bracket.
“The moment’s a lot bigger than me,” said Craft, who had allowed Iowa State to catch up with missed free throws and an errant jumper. “It just happened to be in my hands at the end.”
Ohio State (28-7) needed Craft’s fearless shot — over 6-foot-7 defender Georges Niang — to avoid yet another upset in the oh-so-wild West Regional. Four of the top five seeds fell fast and hard in the first weekend.
The Buckeyes’ 10th straight win sent them to Los Angeles for a game on Thursday against sixth-seeded Arizona.
“With all that’s gone on in college basketball, anything’s possible,” Craft said. “You can see it with what’s gone on in our bracket right now.”
Tenth-seeded Iowa State (23-12) overcame a late 13-point deficit by hitting 3s — the Cyclones’ specialty — but wound up beaten by one, a tough way to have their upset bid end.
“We played our hearts out,” said Will Clyburn, who scored 17 points. “It was a tough game and he made a tough shot. He made a great play.”
Craft’s missed free throws helped Iowa State catch up. He missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one chances and was off on a jumper from just inside the arc with 29.2 seconds left and the score tied.
The Cyclones knocked the ball out of bounds while trying for the rebound, setting up the final chance. Coach Thad Matta called a timeout and went over the options.
“I told ’em, ‘Hey, let’s get the last shot; let’s play for the win here,”’ Matta said.
When the Cyclones switched coverages to take away leading scorer Deshaun Thomas and put their tall freshman on Craft, the point guard decided to take it himself.
Indiana 58, Temple 52: DAYTON, Ohio — On the verge of being the second No. 1 knocked from the NCAA tournament, Indiana finally stopped Temple’s No. 1.
Victor Oladipo hit a key 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and the top-seeded Hoosiers, their season moments from ending in disappointment, shut down Owls star Khalif Wyatt in the final three minutes to hold off the Owls.
The Hoosiers (29-6) trailed by four with 2:56 left, but closed with a 10-0 run and advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year.
Indiana will play No. 4 seed Syracuse in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Washington, a rematch of the classic 1987 title game won by the Hoosiers.
Wyatt scored 31 points to lead the Owls (24-10), who gave one of the Big Ten’s big boys all they could handle before collapsing when it mattered most.
Oladipo, who spent the afternoon doing all he could to slow down Wyatt, scored 16 and Cody Zeller added 15 for the Hoosiers.
Florida 78, Minnesota 64: AUSTIN, Texas — Mike Rosario scored 25 points and Florida used an overpowering first half to roll past Minnesota and into the NCAA tournament round of 16 for third consecutive year with a 78-64 win Sunday in the South Regional.
The No. 3 seed Gators (28-7) shot a blistering 65 percent in the first half and led by 21 by halftime. The win earns Florida a return trip to the Lone Star State to play their next game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Andre Hollins scored 25 points to lead the No. 11-seed Gophers (21-13). Hollins’ 3-point shooting sparked a second-half rally that pulled Minnesota within seven points, but Rosario’s sixth 3-pointer with 3 minutes left pushed the Gators’ lead back to 16 and effectively locked up the win.
La Salle 76, Miss. 74: KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyrone Garland banked home a scooping layup with 2 seconds left and 13th-seeded La Salle beat Mississippi 76-74 on Sunday, vaulting the Explorers to their deepest run in the NCAA tournament since they played for the championship in 1955.
Ramon Galloway had 24 points for La Salle (24-9), which was playing its third game in five days. No. 12 Ole Miss (27-9) led 74-72 with 1:58 left but failed to reach the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.
After Tyreek Duren’s two foul shots tied it 74-all at the 1:07 mark, Marshall Henderson failed to hit an off-balance bank shot that would have given Mississippi the lead.
Henderson had 21 points in game with 11 lead changes.
Duren had 19 points for La Salle and Garland had 17.
Murphy Holloway had 14 points for Mississippi, which fell one win shy of breaking the school record. Jarvis Summers had 12 and Nick Williams had 10 for the Rebels, who were a miserable 10 for 21 from the foul line.