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Originally published March 20, 2014 at 9:16 PM | Page modified March 20, 2014 at 9:25 PM

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Dayton beats 6th-seeded Buckeyes in thriller

Craft’s last-second shot missed, and Dayton (24-10), an 11th seed, upset the sixth-seeded Buckeyes, 60-59, in the South Region of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, sending Ohio State (25-10) home after one game for the first time since 2009.


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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Aaron Craft lay on the floor, his arms behind his head, staring up at the arena ceiling, as if the hardcourt were a poolside chaise longue.

Red was all around him, the jubilant scrum of Dayton players racing around the court, dancing and laughing, while Craft, Ohio State’s senior guard, just lay there, in the middle of it, the popped balloon at a raging party.

His mind raced: the last four seconds, the last four years. Craft has had a captivating college career — on-court charisma fused with a regional celebrity status that has neared territory reserved for the likes of Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel. His four-year run had one more magic moment left in it. He needed two.

Craft’s last-second shot missed, and Dayton (24-10), an 11th seed, upset the sixth-seeded Buckeyes, 60-59, in the South Region of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, sending Ohio State (25-10) home after one game for the first time since 2009.

Vee Sanford hit the go-ahead bucket with less than five seconds remaining, etching his name into tournament lore.

After Sanford’s bucket, Craft pushed the ball up the court furiously, with four seconds to work with. But in the lane, he reached a thicket of Dayton big men, and his last-second heave could not find the net.

“That’s kind of how our season has gone,” Craft said. “I thought I got it up high enough, but I didn’t.”

Syracuse 77, Western 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 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.

Pittsburgh 77, Colorado 48

ORLANDO, Fla. — Talib Zanna scored 16 of his 18 points in the opening half, helping the ninth-seeded Panthers build a 28-point lead over the Buffaloes (23-12).

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

Florida 67, Albany 55

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points, most of them on dunks, and the top-seeded Gators (33-2) used a second-half surge to beat the 16th-seeded Great Danes (19-15).

Florida’s bench provided a much-needed spark. Finney-Smith, the Southeastern Conference’s sixth man of the year, was 6-of-10 shooting.



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