PITTSBURG (WPVI) – Colin Gillespie scored 20 points, Eric Dixon was late with a big 3-point, and Vilanova, seeded under the second seed, on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA beat seventh Ohio 71-61.

The Wildcats (28-7) earned their eighth trip to Sweet 16 under Jay Wright, surviving a second-half push by the Buckeyes (20-12), who reduced the deficit by 15 points to two before Vilanova regained her position.

The Wildcats will continue their quest for the country’s third champion in seven seasons when they meet Michigan, seeded 11th (19-14) in the Southern Region semi-finals in San Antonio on Thursday night.

Malachi Branham scored 15 of 23 points in the second half. EJ Liddell added 17 in his last game with the Buckeyes before heading to the NBA.

Vilanova led from each other, but there were some tense moments on the stretch. 3-point Jamari Wheeler of Ohio played in the Party 60-58 with a score of 5:39. The parties did not come closer.

Samuels stopped, and Gillespie knocked down a jumping horse, and Ohio cooled.

When the “Parties” tried to trap Gillespie, he found Dixon open on the 3-point line, and the sophomore shot down, making it 67-59, with 1:38 left to finish any chance Bakis had of reaching Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013.

Ohio has missed six of the last seven shots after Wheeler 3 brought a piece dressed in a scarlet crowd that rose three hours from Columbus.

The second weekend of the tournament has become a habitual venue for the Wildcats since Wright took office in 2004. After so-so – by the high standards of the program – the regular season, Vilanova looks dangerous again.

A week after winning the Big East Tournament title, the Wildcats won their first two games at the Pittsburgh tournament with double-digit numbers, just as they did in 2018 on their way to the national title.

The parties defeated Loyola Chicago in the first round, suffocating the Ramblers for 40 minutes, holding the NCAA tournament favorites by just 41 points.

If Gillespie and Caleb Daniels didn’t do what they wanted on Sunday, Dixon looked easy on the strip. Ohio’s defensive dedication on Friday disappeared against the more refined and balanced Wildcats.

Gillespie scored 10 points in a row in a pair of free throws, two three-pointers, as well as steals and misses, as Vilanova took less than eight minutes to create a double-digit lead on the way to a 39-28 break.

Early in the second half, Jermaine Samuels made the score 46-31 before Branham and Liddell almost single-handedly brought the Parties back.

Ohio forward Kyle Young came into the game with a score of 8:55 after a blow to the head. He did not return. He missed the Big Ten tournament while on a concussion protocol

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