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Craft, Ohio State fall short in loss to Dayton PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:17 PM

Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Aaron Craft’s career at Ohio State ended with a thud.

The senior guard was left lying on his back in the paint looking up toward the rafters after his driving 10-foot jumper rolled off the rim, sealing 11th-ranked Dayton’s 60-59 victory over the sixth-seeded Buckeyes in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.

“I just wanted to do everything I could to help our team win and down the stretch I couldn’t do that today,” Craft said. “I can take the blame for that.”

Craft finished with 16 points and four steals, upping his Big Ten Conference-record total to 337. But he couldn’t steal away a victory in what became the Buckeyes’ earliest tournament exit since a first-round 74-72 overtime loss to Siena in 2009.

Vee Sanford hit a layup with 3.8 seconds left to seal the win for Dayton (24-10) in a showdown of Ohio schools separated by just 75 miles.

The basket came some 12 seconds after Craft had put the Buckeyes ahead by making a reverse layup.

It just so happened that Sanford scored by getting a step around Craft, a 2-time Big Ten defensive player of the year.

“There so many things that are going through my mind right now that I wish could have gone differently,but they didn’t,” Craft said. “He made a big-time play and we couldn’t come back.”

Buckeyes coach Thad Matta supported Craft.

“Honestly, me telling him how to play defense would be like me telling somebody how to build a rocket ship,” Matta said. “I’ll live and die with that kid any day of the year.”

Sam Thompson scored 18 points for Ohio State (25-10), which stumbled down the stretch. After opening the season 15-0, the Buckeyes split their final 20 games.

It was a back-and-forth game that featured 15 lead changes, befitting of two schools that feature numerous connections.

Dayton coach Archie Miller spent two seasons at Ohio State working under Matta. And Flyers guard Jordan Sibert left the Buckeyes two years ago and transferred to Dayton.

As for the in-state rivalry, Craft had no time for questions about what the loss to Dayton meant.

“Sorry, I have zero thoughts on that right now,” he replied. “I’m upset at the way we played this game,and the way we didn’t take the opportunity and make the most of it.”

Miller was antsy right up to the final buzzer, particularly with the ball in Craft’s hands on the Buckeyes final possession.

“I thought it was going in,” Miller added, referring to Craft’s miss at the buzzer. “I’ve watched those guys win that game 1,000 times. He’s a bulldozer with the ball. He got it down there in about three dribbles and got a good look. And it ended up rimming out. And we got lucky today.”

After falling behind 43-35 with 13:37 remaining, Ohio State capitalized on four Dayton turnovers to go on a 10-0 run capped by Thompson’s rebound of Craft’s miss with 10:23 remaining.

Neither team was capable of pulling away after that.

There was very little separating the teams during a first half that had seven lead changes and ended with Dayton ahead 33-30. Matt Kavanaugh was the difference as the Buckeyes defense had difficulty containing him in the paint. Kavanaugh scored all his nine points in the first 20 minutes and picked up the slack on offense after Sibert was forced to sit for seven minutes in after picking up his second foul.

EAST REGIONAL

HARVARD 61, CINCINNATI 57

SPOKANE, Wash. — Siyani Chambers scored 11 points, including five straight in the final 2 minutes, and 12th-seeded Harvard won its second NCAA tournament game in history, upsetting fifth-seeded Cincinnati 61-57 on Thursday in the East Regional.

Wesley Saunders led the Crimson (27-4) with 12 points as Harvard pulled off an upset for the second straight year. Last year, Harvard upset New Mexico as a 14 seed.

The Crimson became the first Ivy League school with NCAA tournament wins in consecutive years since Princeton in 1983-84.

Harvard never trailed after the opening moments. They played with confidence and scrap against the Bearcats, who shared the American Athletic Conference regular season title.

Sean Kilpatrick led Cincinnati (27-7) with 18 points but the Bearcats failed to win a tournament game for the second straight year.

MICHIGAN ST. 93, DELAWARE 78

SPOKANE, Wash. — Adreian Payne scored a career-high 41 points to get Michigan State off to a solid start in the NCAA tournament.

Payne, a 6-10 senior, scored 12 straight points in the first half to help the fourth-seeded Spartans (27-8) to an 18-point lead.

He set an NCAA tournament record by making all 17 of his free throws and broke the program’s tournament scoring record, set previously by Greg Kelser in 1979.

Devon Saddler had 21 points and Davon Usher added 20 for the 13th-seeded Blue Hens (25-10).

Travis Trice scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half for the Spartans.

UCONN 89, SAINT JOSEPH’S 81, OT

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Shabazz Napier shook off a miss at the second-half buzzer to score nine of his 24 points in overtime and lead seventh-seeded Connecticut to a win over Saint Joseph’s in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

DeAndre Daniels scored 18 while freshman center Amida Brimah forced overtime by completing a 3-point play in the final minute for UConn (27-8). The Huskies won their first tournament game under coach Kevin Ollie, who took over two years ago after Jim Calhoun stepped down due to health issues.

With the game tied at 70 entering overtime, Daniels opened the scoring by completed a 3-point play with 3:47 left during a 5-minute period the Huskies never trailed.

Langston Galloway scored 25 points for Saint Joseph’s (24-10). The Hawks wore down because of a lack of depth, then lost top forward Halil Kanacevic, who fouled out early into overtime.

SOUTH REGIONAL

SYRACUSE 77, W. MICHIGAN 53

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Syracuse’s backcourt of Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis combined for 34 points and the Orange defense clamped down.

Western Michigan (23-10), the Mid-American Conference champion, had won 14 out of 16 games and was in the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade.

The third-seeded Orange (28-5) forced 11 turnovers in the opening half and scored 13 points off them in running out to a double-digit lead before the midpoint of the period.

Cooney led the Orange with 18 points, hitting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, and Ennis had 16 points and six assists with one turnover.

The Orange used an 18-4 spurt over 10 minutes to take control and led 40-21 at halftime.

Shayne Whittington and Tucker Haymond led Western Michigan with 11 points apiece.

PITTSBURGH 77, COLORADO 48

ORLANDO, Fla. — Talib Zanna scored 16 of his 18 points in the opening half, helping ninth-seeded Pittsburgh build a 28-point lead.

The Panthers (26-9) shot 51 percent and played stifling defense.

Colorado (23-12) was eager to make amends for an early exit from the tournament a year ago but had no answers for the 6-9 Zanna. The Pitt center made six out of seven shots in the first half and the Panthers didn’t have any difficulty finishing off the overwhelmed Buffaloes.

Josh Scott led the eighth-seeded Buffaloes with 14 points; however, Colorado couldn’t overcome a subpar performance from Askia Booker.

FLORIDA 67, ALBANY 55

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points, most of them on dunks, and top-seeded Florida used a second-half surge to beat 16th-seeded Albany.

The Gators (33-2) showed some vulnerability, though, while extending their school-record winning streak to 27 games.

Coach Billy Donovan’s team sleepwalked through the first half, swapping the lead back and forth with the pesky Great Danes, but Florida’s bench provided a much-needed spark.

Finney-Smith, the Southeastern Conference’s sixth man of the year, was 6-of-10 shooting. Freshman guard Kasey Hill, who wasn’t sure he would be able to play because of turf toe, chipped in 10 points.

Patric Young finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season. Casey Prather (16 points) and Scottie Wilbekin (10) also reached double figures for Florida.

DJ Evans led Albany (19-15) with 21 points and seven rebounds.

WEST REGIONAL

WISCONSIN 75, AMERICAN 35

MILWAUKEE — Ben Brust scored 17 points and second-seeded Wisconsin devastated American with a 22-5 run to close the first half.

The second-seeded Badgers (27-7) recovered from a brief first-half rut and 7-point deficit to extinguish the dreams of the 15th-seeded Eagles (20-13).

After Wisconsin was ousted in the first round last year as a No. 5 seed, Brust made sure his senior season didn’t end the same way. He attacked the glass for baskets on consecutive possessions, ending with a 3-point play with 3:33 left in the first half to give Wisconsin a 23-20 lead.

The Badgers shot 57 percent from the field in the second half.

John Schoof had 11 points for American.

OREGON 87, BYU 68

MILWAUKEE — Elgin Cook scored a career-high 23 points for seventh-seeded Oregon.

Joseph Young had 19 points for the Ducks (24-9), who had to stage a big comeback to beat the Cougars 100-96 in overtime in December. There was no comeback needed this time, with Oregon turning away every charge by BYU in the second half.

Cook, a native of Milwaukee, is the son of former NBA All-Star Alvin Robertson.

Tyler Haws scored 19 points for 10th-seeded BYU (23-12), which returned to the NCAA tournament after a one-year absence. Matt Carlino added 15 points.

NORTH DAKOTA STATE 80, OKLAHOMA 75, OT

SPOKANE, Wash. — Lawrence Alexander hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to force overtime and freshman Carlin Dupree scored four points in the final 75 seconds as No. 12 seed North Dakota State knocked off Oklahoma.

The Bison (26-6) picked up their first NCAA tournament win by rallying in the final minute and then outlasting the No. 5 seed Sooners in overtime. Alexander finished with a career-high 28 points but it’ll be his falling-down, fist-pumping celebration after the tying 3-pointer that will be replayed in Fargo for years.

Dupree came on in the closing seconds of overtime after Taylor Braun fouled out. He hit two free throws and scored on a difficult baseline leaner with 41 seconds left.

Cameron Clark led Oklahoma (23-10) with 25 points.

MIDWEST REGIONAL

MICHIGAN 57, WOFFORD 40

MILWAUKEE — Glenn Robinson III scored 14 points and second-seeded Michigan started their quest for a second straight trip to the Final Four by beating 15th-seeded Wofford.

The Wolverines (26-8) capitalized on their decisive edge in athleticism on the undersized Terriers (20-13) but still had some nervous moments after missing 15 of their first 18 shots in the second half.

Karl Cochran’s 3-pointer with 9:25 left whittled an 18-point deficit to 40-33.

But the Wolverines regrouped and Caris LeVert’s 3 with 4:17 left gave them a 15-point lead to deflate Wofford’s dreams of an upset.

Cochran finished with 17 points, while Robinson hit big shots in the same arena his father played in as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1990s.

SAINT LOUIS 83, N.C. STATE 80, OT

ORLANDO, Fla. — Rob Loe scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, helping St. Louis wipe out a late 14-point deficit and pull away in overtime to beat North Carolina State.

Jordair Jett overcame a slow start to score 18, doing most of his damage while the fifth-seeded Billikens (27-6) were making their comeback in the last five minutes of regulation.

Both teams shot horribly from the free-throw line, with Saint Louis shooting 12-for-26 and No. 12 seed NC State shooting 20-for-37.

T.J. Warren scored 28 points for the Wolfpack (22-14) but the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year made just six of his 14 free throw attempts, including one that could have tied it in the final minute of OT.

 

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