Sanford’s shot leads Dayton to win over Ohio State in NCAA tournament
University of Dayton redshirt senior guard Vee Sanford (43) shoots a basket that put Dayton (11) up by one with less than 10 seconds to go against Ohio State (6) in the second round of the NCAA tournament, March 20, 2014, at the First Niagara Center, in Buffalo, New York. With the 60-59 win, UD advances and will play on Saturday. Ethan Klosterman/Photo Editor
By: Steven Wright – Sports Editor
In the final 10 seconds, both teams had a final shot to keep their tournament chances alive.
The No. 11-seed University of Dayton men’s basketball team made that shot. No. 6-seed The Ohio State University did not.
Redshirt senior guard Vee Sanford had 10 points, the biggest being his contested runner in the lane with 3.8 seconds remaining, leading Dayton to defeat Ohio State 60-59 Thursday, March 20, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the First Niagara Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.
“Obviously, an incredible finish,” head coach Archie Miller said. “We’re really proud of how our guys prepared and approached to battle against what we consider an elite team.”
The game was consistently back-and-forth up until the final second.
Dayton (24-10) held a 43-35 lead with 13:37 left in the second half when Ohio State seized momentum. Sanford missed a 3-pointer, and an ensuing Ohio State 10-0 run gave them a 45-43 lead three minutes later. From there, neither team led by more than three at any point.
The team’s traded baskets into the final five minutes, but a flagrant foul called on OSU senior guard Aaron Craft on redshirt junior guard Jordan Sibert with 2:35 remaining gave UD some breathing room. Sibert hit two free throws to put UD up 55-52, but UD was unable to score on its possession following the shots.
Ohio State (25-10) didn’t go away, and scored five straight with a jumper by junior guard Sam Thompson that gave them the lead again with under a minute left.
Sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierre was fouled shooting a 3-pointer on the next trip down with 26.3 to go. Hitting all three, UD took the lead again.
“I was trying to stay calm, stay focused, and I knew we had to make those free throws for the team,” Pierre said. “Luckily, I did.”
OSU again didn’t go away as Craft gave them the lead with 15.5 left on a layup.
However, out of the final timeout, Miller put the ball in Sanford’s hands, who made the running drive down the right side of the paint. Craft’s underhand scoop shot in the final second rimmed out, and Dayton survived the battle.
“We’ve probably drawn up a play like that and I messed it up previously,” Sanford said. “He just kept his trust in me, and I’m just thankful that the shot went in.”
This was UD’s first win over Ohio State since Dec. 19, 1987, and its first win in the NCAA tournament since 2009.
“A lot of people are going to make a big case about it being Thad or it being Ohio State, but you advance in the NCAA Tournament, that’s hard,” Miller said. “That’s really hard. It’s hard to get here, and it’s hard to advance.”
Thompson led all scorers with 18 points. Craft added 16, and junior forward LaQuinton Ross had 10 for OSU.
Dayton had five players score at least nine points. Pierre had 12, and senior forward Devin Oliver and Sanford scored 11.
Dayton missed its first three shots from the field to open the game, but hit its next five to open up an early 15-11 lead six minutes in.
Both teams went over three minutes without a field goal as the half was coming to a close before a flurry of buckets from Dayton gave them a 9-3 run and a 33-30 advantage into the break.
It set up the frantic pace and intensity of the second half, where Dayton hit its shot at the end, and Ohio State did not.
UD faces No. 3-seed Syracuse University in the third round Saturday, March 22, who defeated No. 14-seed Western Michigan University in the second game of the day. A trip to the Sweet 16 in Memphis, Tenn., awaits the winner.
“I’m assuming we’re going to have another one that’s going to be very, very similar in a couple days,” Miller said. “I want our guys to enjoy it.”