ST. LOUIS - One Evan Turner is pretty good. Five Tennessee Volunteers are even better.
Brian Williams scored the go-ahead basket on a tip-in with 32 seconds left, Bobby Maze converted a pair of late free throws and J.P. Prince blocked a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer Friday night, leading Tennessee past Ohio State, 76-73, and into the NCAA Tournament's round of eight for the first time.
Wayne Chism finished with 22 points - all but four in the second half - and 11 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Volunteers (28-8), who pulled out a back-and-forth tussle in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
As the final buzzer sounded, Tennessee players let out screams of joy and sprinted onto the court.
Few expected this from the Vols, considering where they were on Jan. 1. Tyler Smith, the team's leading scorer last season, was dismissed from the team and Williams, Cameron Tatum and Melvin Goins were suspended after a gun and marijuana were found during a traffic stop.
But nine days later, Tennessee stunned then-No. 1 Kansas, and the Vols emerged as an even stronger team. Now they're one win from the Final Four.
"It sounds real good, and we're livin' it up right now," Chism said.
For the Buckeyes, it's an opportunity lost. No one appeared to benefit more than Ohio State (29-8) when No. 1 overall seed Kansas was upset by Northern Iowa in the second round. Add in third-seeded Georgetown's first-round loss and fourth-seeded Maryland's loss last weekend, and Ohio State had what appeared to be a clear path to its second Final Four in four years.
To get there, though, the Buckeyes needed more than Turner, a leading contender for national player of the year honors.
"I told our team, 'It's our team vs. their six,' '' Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl said. "We were a better 10 than their six."
Turner finished with 31 points, 21 in the second half, but the rest of the Buckeyes were 3-for-16 from the field in the second half. Jon Diebler, so big for Ohio State in the first two rounds, shot 1-for-7 from three-point range and totaled three points.
Ohio State had won four of its previous five meetings against Tennessee, including a matchup in the 2007 regional semifinals. But these Buckeyes are far different from that squad, which featured an NBA-caliber roster that included Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook.