The NCAA Tournament finally reached the Round of 64 after getting through the first four play-in games, and the madness commenced immediately in Buffalo. Finally forced to play their Dayton after years of denying scheduling opportunities to their fellow Ohio school, the Ohio State Buckeyes were bounced out of the Big Dance on Thursday by the Flyers 60-59.
Dayton took a 33-30 lead into the locker room at halftime and stymied the Buckeyes throughout the opening contest of Thursday’s 16-game slate. It was a throwback game, with neither team depending on three-pointers and the shore remaining tight until the final buzzer.
In the final second of the game, polarizing Ohio State star Aaron Craft drove for the game-winning layup. Off the mark, Craft would fail to muster survival for his team. Instead it was Dayton’s Vee Sanford who would be the clutch hero, draining what would stand as the winner from eight feet out with less than five seconds remaining.
The Flyers took fewer shots from the field than Ohio State and had a lower field-goal percentage after 40 minutes. It was at the charity stripe where Dayton won the game, draining 13 of their 17 opportunities at the free-throw line; the Buckeyes went just 8 of 12 with their chances.
Dayton now awaits the winner of tonight’s game between third-seeded Syracuse and the Western Michigan Broncos, who they will face in the Round of 32 on Saturday. For the Buckeyes, another promising season comes to another premature end after the favorite failed to create buzzer-beater magic.