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DETROIT GOES QUIETLY THIS TIME : WEST REGIONAL: OHIO STATE 75, DETROIT 44.

Byline: Jon Wilner Daily News Staff Writer

Detroit Mercy stuck a corkscrew in UCLA's gut Thursday night, then turned it another rotation Saturday against Ohio State.

A Titans victory would have substantiated their first-round upset - or at least made it easier to accept in Westwood.

Instead, Detroit departed with a whimper, losing 75-44 to the No. 4 seed Buckeyes before 32,758 in the RCA Dome. The Titans lost in the second round for the second straight season.

``Ohio State and UCLA are really a lot alike,'' Detroit guard Rashad Phillips said. ``We were flat against Ohio State, and they fed on our flatness. We were timid, and they used that to their advantage. We were thinking about what was at stake, the Sweet 16.''

The Buckeyes (25-6) did everything UCLA did not.

They established control early and grabbed a 12-0 lead.

They contained Detroit's guards, Phillips and Jermaine Jackson, and contested every shot.

They had a 51-25 rebounding advantage, and they executed against Detroit's tenacious defense - shooting 59 percent in the second half.

``Our defense prevailed in the UCLA game, but not today,'' Detroit forward Bacari Alexander said. ``Ohio State put the ball in the basket, and UCLA did not. That's it. There's no magic potion.''

When Detroit tried the 2-3 zone that confounded UCLA, the Buckeyes carved it up. They made 10 of 21 shots from 3-point range, and they scored 28 points in the lane. (UCLA had 14.) Smooth swingman Michael Reed and point guard Scoonie Penn combined for 30 points; Penn, who is 5-foot-10, grabbed 12 rebounds.

``We finally came upon a team that isn't bigger than us,'' Penn said.

Ohio State held Detroit scorelesss for nearly 10 minutes and took a 25-12 lead into the locker room. The Buckeyes broke it open early in the second half with a 15-6 surge.

``We were terrific defensively,'' Buckeyes coach Jim O'Brien said. ``When we looked at tapes of Detroit, I thought Phillips is as good as a lot of the guards we played this year. We were able to keep him under double figures.''

The Buckeyes now face No. 1 seed Auburn on Thursday in a Sweet 16 matchup of previously dormant programs. It's Ohio State's first Sweet 16 since the Jimmy Jackson-led team in 1992, which was also its last tournament appearance. Auburn hasn't played in the Sweet 16 since 1986 with Chuck Person.
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 14, 1999
Words:398
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