Jody Victor : Buckeyes Fall to Florida

Jody Victor: It was Monday night in the Atlanta Georgia Dome and our hopes were high. But the Ohio state men's basketball team (35-4) fell to Florida (35-5), 84-75 in the 2007 NCAA Tournament Championship game.

The Buckeyes claimed an early 9-7 lead in the first four minutes of the game, but Florida jumped ahead 33-22 after netting three-consecutive 3-point attempts with 3:51 to play before intermission. Florida led 40-29 at the half with the help of a 6-for-9 3-point clip. It was just the sixth time this season Ohio State has trailed at the break.

The Buckeyes cut the Florida advantage to seven twice in the second half, the second after Ron Lewis converted a driving lay up to make it 51-44 with less than 13 minutes to play. Florida pushed its lead back out to 14 at 61-47 after Chris Richard converted an old-fashioned 3-pointer with nine minutes to play.

Ohio State again made a push and sliced its deficit to 66-60 at the 5-minute mark after Oden connected on two free throws. Again Florida countered. This time, Taurean Green nailed the Gator's 10th 3-pointer of the night. Al Hordford sunk a 12-footer to up Florida's lead to 73-62 with a little more than three minutes to play. The Gators never looked back, winning their second national championship in a row.

Freshman center Greg Oden led the Buckeyes with 25 points and 12 rebounds, his 14th double-double of the season. Mike Conley pitched in 20 for the Buckeyes and joined Oden on the 2007 All-Tournament team. Ron Lewis was the third Buckeye to score double figures with 12 points and Ivan Harris added seven in their final game as Buckeyes.

Ohio State made its fifth appearance in the national title game Monday. The Buckeyes last won the NCAA championship in 1960, with a 75-55 victory over California.

Go Bucks!

Jody Victor