The first upset of the 2014 NCAA Tournament didn’t take long. The 11-seeded Dayton Flyers pulled out a 60-59 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes this afternoon in an absolutely fantastic game. And in case there was any doubt, the Atlantic 10 is for real. Rhody’s conference now moves to 1-0 in the Big Dance following UD’s big win in Buffalo.
The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 5-0 lead before Dayton found their offense. The Flyers exploded for 13 total points in five consecutive possessions as they built a 13-9 advantage. The next 11 minutes saw the two Ohio teams go basket for basket as there were ties and lead changes abound, but UD had one last barrage in their arsenal. The Flyers used their transition game once again to drop nine points on just four possessions, and Dayton held a slim 33-30 lead at the break.
The exciting back-and-forth play continued in the second half as the two teams were never separated by more than three points over the final 11:44. It was a 55-55 ballgame with a minute to play when the fireworks started. Sam Thompson put the Buckeyes in front by two with a baby hook in the lane, but the Dyshawn Pierre answered for the Flyers. The sophomore was fouled shooting a three in the corner, and calmly stepped to the line and drained all three foul shots to put UD up 58-57. Aaron Craft’s layup with 17 seconds left put Ohio State back in front and Dayton had one last chance.
Archie Miller drew up a perfect play out of a timeout, as Vee Sanford drove down the right side of the lane and hit what turned out to be the game-winning layup. The Buckeyes had once last chance, but Craft’s circus shot bounced off the rim at the buzzer as UD completed the upset. Pierre led the way for the Flyers with 12 points, with Sanford adding 10 off the bench. Craft finished with 16 as his collegiate career came to an end.
Dayton advances to play the winner of 3-seed Syracuse and 14-seed Western Michigan. That game will be played on Saturday in Buffalo.