The first game Thursday already brought an upset, with No. 11 Dayton toppling No. 6 Ohio State on a knifing layup from Vee Sanford with less than five seconds left. Star Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft, who probably would have dominated Twitter win or lose, took the final shot himself and watched it rim out before falling backwards onto the court at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. Now a lot of people won’t have a chance to win Warren Buffet’s billion-dollar bracket challenge. Bummer.
The Flyers were ahead for most of the second half in the battle of Ohio, which pitted Buckeyes Coach Thad Matta against his one-time assistant Archie Miller — they compared red ties before the game — and saw the underdog Flyers leading by halftime. Suddenly, Craft’s college career, and all the requisite ideas of scrappiness that came with it, was in jeopardy of ending early in his fourth NCAA tournament, which included this beauty of a pass, to the wide-open media member shocked when the basketball thudded against the table.
But Craft, who finished with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, also made an incredible reverse layup through traffic to put the Buckeyes ahead 59-58, one sequence after his teammate Shannon Scott committed an ill-advised foul on a three-point attempt late in the shot clock.
No Dayton player scored more than 12 points. The Flyers haven’t won two NCAA tournament games since 1984, but advance to face the winner of Syracuse and Western Michigan. Matta, meanwhile, lost only his second opening-round game at Ohio State and first since 2009.