LOS ANGELES (AP) — LaQuinton Ross' dramatic 3-pointer to beat Arizona on Thursday night was the culmination of the sophomore's remarkable growth from a rebellious recruit into a clutch performer.
Ross appeared in just nine games as a freshman in Columbus, clearly uncomfortable with the college game and its responsibilities. He acknowledges he might not have been able to take the shot that sank the Wildcats last year — or even earlier this season.
"Coming in my freshman year, I think I was kind of immature as far as my thinking," Ross said. "'Why am I not playing? Why am I not doing this?' I think everything paid off, and all the hard work is paying off in this tournament."
Ross emerged as a contributor down the stretch this season, scoring in double digits in four Big Ten games. He added 17 last weekend against Iowa State.
"LaQuinton has really grown in a lot of areas," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "I think the biggest thing he's done is — and I've used this word a lot — he's engaged himself in all of the little things, and that's made him a better basketball player. Bringing an attitude to practice, just an overall mindset that he's in."
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