Buckeyes’ Ross finds inner Mamba from locker

LOS ANGELES — A day before LaQuinton Ross leaped, splayed his legs and downed Arizona with a decisive three-pointer Thursday, the 6-foot-8 Ohio State forward randomly won the locker-room lottery.

He walked into the Lakers’ locker room at Staples Center — his team’s temporary digs in the NCAA tournament — and staked a claim to a corner locker that normally belongs to another clutch shooter.

“I found out from one of the guys who worked here it was Kobe Bryant’s locker,” Ross said after the Buckeyes’ 73-70 victory. “Before we got here, I’d called dibs on it anyway. But I didn’t know whose it was until he told me. I was excited about that.”

Ross was so excited he took it to Twitter and even posted a picture on Instagram of him sitting in Bryant’s locker.

Turns out, that prime real estate was the ideal spot for Ross, who took advantage of a defensive mistake and drained the tie-breaking 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds to play. To his immediate left, the Buckeyes’ bench erupted as did a robust section of Ohio State fans, who watched their team collect its 11th victory in a row.

Said teammate Lenzelle Smith Jr.: “I was so confident, I was almost walking to the locker room when the ball went up. I knew it was going to go in.”

Ross’ big-time shot also grabbed the attention of Ohio native LeBron James, who took to Twitter to congratulate him.

— Sam Farmer