No. 13 Ohio Upsets No. 4 Virginia in 1st Round of 2021 Men's NCAA Tournament

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 21, 2021

Ohio's Ben Roderick, right, hugs Jason Preston after Ohio defeated Buffalo 84-69 in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Mid-American Conference tournament, Saturday, March 13, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Ben Vander Plas scored a game-high 17 points and Jason Preston added 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists as No. 13 Ohio upset the No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers 62-58 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament.

Bobcats guard Ben Roderick added 15 points, including a layup and a three-pointer down the stretch to turn a 51-49 Ohio lead into a 56-49 edge with 1:09 remaining.

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Virginia clawed back, however, and even cut the lead to 58-55 following a Reece Beekman steal (and ensuing Jay Huff layup) with 13 seconds left.

Ohio's Mark Sears then nailed two free throws, but Virginia's Trey Murphy III hit a three-pointer with eight seconds left to slash the Bobcats' lead to 60-58.

The Bobcats stayed on fire from the free-throw line, though, as Lunden McDay sealed the win with two more from the charity stripe to put the game away. Ohio went 13-of-14 from the line on the night.

Ohio's 16-2 run in the middle of the second half proved to be the difference. Virginia led 38-31 with 14:35 left after a Kihei Clark layup, but the Bobcats proceeded to hold the Cavaliers without a field goal for 10:08. A pair of Sam Hauser free throws were the only Cavalier points during that span.

Vander Plas capped that stretch by going on his own personal 8-0 run to put Ohio up 47-40 with 4:43 remaining.

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Hauser, who paced the Cavaliers with 16 points per game this year, led UVA with 15 points (4-of-16 shooting) and nine rebounds. He and the rest of the Cavaliers struggled from the field, though, shooting 35 percent overall and making eight of 31 three-pointers.

This contest marked the Cavaliers' first game since March 11, when they defeated Syracuse 72-69 in the ACC tournament quarterfinals. A positive test and subsequent contact tracing and quarantining forced UVA to bow out for the remainder of the conference competition, however.

The Cavaliers' first practice following that news occurred Friday morning, and they arrived in Indianapolis for the tournament later that day. Most of the team was also in quarantine this week.

UVA certainly faced significant obstacles leading into its tournament defeat, but Ohio still played an excellent game as it donned the Cinderella slippers once again. Tremendous defense, clutch shooting and late-game heroics helped Ohio survive and advance.

The Bobcats have now earned first-round upsets three times in the last 12 seasons.

The No. 14 Bobcats upset the No. 3 Georgetown Hoyas in the first round in 2010. Two years later, the No. 13 Bobcats defeated No. 4 Michigan and No. 12 South Florida in the first two rounds before losing to the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels 73-65 in overtime.

Ohio will now face off against No. 5 Creighton in the second round Monday. The Bluejays held off an upset bid from No. 12 UCSB to win 63-62 on Friday.

Virginia, which won the last men's college hoops title in 2019, ends its season with an 18-7 overall record.