One game into the 2014 NCAA tournament and the first upset is already in the books. No. 11 seed Dayton edged sixth-seeded Ohio State in a wild back-and-forth affair in the opening game of the second round, 60-59.
It was a pretty sloppy game from both sides. They combined to commit 27 turnovers and hit on just 6-of-25 attempts from three-point range, but that didn't take away from the excitement down the stretch. The lead switched hands multiple times inside the final five minutes before Dayton finally held on.
College basketball fans hope it's a sign of plenty more excitement to come over the next few weeks. Let's check out the scoring summary from the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York, followed by a complete recap of the action.
|South Region - 2nd Round - Ohio State vs. Dayton|
|Team||Seed||1st Half||2nd Half||Total|
All Your Bracket Essentials
Recap and Twitter Reaction
Ohio State and Dayton was one of the matchups that generated a lot of buzz after the bracket was released on Selection Sunday. The in-state rivalry factor was attractive, especially considering the Flyers had a legitimate chance against the "big brother" Buckeyes.
That said, the underdog squad from Dayton tried to avoid falling into the trap of thinking it had to do anything extra to win. Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com passed along comments from Flyers senior Devin Oliver, who gave off a sense of confidence about his team:
It would be great (if we beat Ohio State), but as a team we feel like we deserve to be here. I don't think you can really get too into the Big Brother, Little Brother mentality, per se. We're a great basketball team, and we're here to win.
The Flyers came out a bit sluggish as Ohio State rushed out to a quick 5-0 lead. They missed some open looks and picked up some touch fouls in a forgettable first two minutes. But they soon settled in and began playing far more efficient basketball on the offensive end.
Jordan Sibert started a scoring binge that saw Dayton score on five straight possessions, turning that early deficit into an 13-9 edge. It was the type of play the Flyers showcased quite frequently while winning 10 of their final 12 games before the Big Dance.
It was a pretty even half from that point forward as the teams more or less traded hoops.
Aaron Craft led all Buckeyes with nine points in the opening 20 minutes. But the senior guard turned the ball over four times after averaging less than three giveaways per game during the regular season, which played a role in the lackluster offensive output for Ohio State on Thursday.
For Dayton, Matt Kavanaugh posted nine first-half points of his own. He was able to create space for himself down low by outworking Ohio State defenders. As Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors noted, it was an efficient opening half for the center:
All told, the Flyers carried a three-point edge into halftime, 33-30. Just like that, the first upset watch of the tournament was already in place, as highlighted by Dana O'Neil of ESPN:
Coming out of the break, Ohio State clearly lacked energy, and the more engaged Flyers took full advantage. They stretched their lead out to eight with just under 14 minutes to go.
Grant Freking of the Greenfield Daily Reporter noted lethargy was an issue that popped up from time to time for the Buckeyes throughout the season and was definitely holding them back in their tournament opener:
With Ohio State showing no signs of coming out of its funk, Dayton had a golden opportunity to start pulling away. Instead, the Flyers made a string of mistakes that allowed the No. 6 seed to get right back in the game.
The Buckeyes rattled off 10 straight points over a three-minute span to regain the lead. Dayton had four turnovers and three missed jumpers during that stretch.
It was a much-needed spurt for Ohio State, which went up by two with 10 minutes to play (via ESPN CBB):
The run led to another turning point. Either Dayton was going to respond or Ohio State was going to take control. It turned out to be the former.
The Flyers awoke from their slumber in time to keep the game close, thanks in large part to attacking the rim and drawing fouls.
Ohio State went into the final media timeout of regulation up by one. A quick basket by Oliver switched the edge back into Dayton's favor in what developed into a seesaw affair.
An intentional foul on Craft, who hustled back to defend a fastbreak after a turnover but could only grab Sibert, gave Dayton a chance to stretch the lead to two possessions. Sibert drained both free throws, but the Flyers returned the favor with a turnover of their own on the extra possession.
Brian Koziol of WGR noted it was a key moment in the upset bid:
Craft proceeded to get the points back for Ohio State at the other end. He drew two Dayton defenders in the air under the basket, absorbed the contact and made the shot. He converted the free throw to level the score at 55.
The Buckeyes were then able to get back on top with just under a minute to play courtesy of a Sam Thompson basket on an assist from Craft.
One defensive stop and Ohio State would have been shooting free throws with a chance to close out the game. Dayton swung the ball around to Dyshawn Pierre, who missed a three-point attempt but was fouled on the jumper by Shannon Scott.
Pierre, a 66 percent free-throw shooter, connected on all three shots from the line to put Dayton up by one. Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports made his thoughts on the foul pretty clear:
To nobody's surprise, the Buckeyes went right back to Craft. He drove to the basket and scored immediately after a timeout.
Dayton followed suit, getting the ball into the frontcourt and calling a timeout. The Flyers went to Vee Sanford, who matched Craft's clutch bucket with one of his own for yet another lead change with only a few ticks remaining.
Instead of calling its final timeout, Ohio State pushed the ball up the floor quickly in an attempt to catch the Dayton defense off guard.
This time Craft's shot came up short, however, giving Dayton the upset win.
The Flyers will play the winner of matchup between No. 3 Syracuse and No. 14 Western Michigan in the third round on Saturday. The Orange haven't been shooting the ball well as of late, which means Dayton should have a good chance regardless of which team survives and moves on from that game.
If Dayton is going to advance further in the tournament, it must clean up its play on the offensive end. the Flyers made too many mental errors and was lucky Ohio State also made more than its fair share of mistakes.
Things aren't going to get any easier against the Syracuse zone, assuming the seeds hold into the second game of the session.
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