Dayton, Harvard pull early upsets
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Ohio State belongs to Dayton.
The Flyers can lay claim to having bragging rights on their "big brothers" from down the road after Vee Sanford banked in a layup with 3.8 seconds remaining to lift 11th-seeded Dayton to a 60-59 victory over sixth-seeded Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.
Sanford finished with 10 points, while Dyshawn Pierre led the Flyers (24-10) with 12 points in a matchup of Ohio schools separated by about 75 miles. Dayton advances to play the winner between third-seeded Syracuse and 14th-seeded Western Michigan in a South Region matchup on Saturday.
The Buckeyes (25-10) had one last chance to pull out the victory, but Aaron Craft’s driving 10-footer hit off the backboard and rolled off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Craft remained on his back in disappointment as the Flyers rushed to celebrate at their bench at the other end of the court.
Sam Thompson scored 18 points and Craft added 16 for Ohio State, which was eliminated after one game for only the third time in its 26 tournament appearances.
Dayton improved to 4-6 all-time against Ohio State. And it advances to play a weekend game for its second straight tournament appearance, after going 1-1 in 2009.
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 Thad Matta. And Flyers guard Jordan Sibert left the Buckeyes two years ago and transferred to Dayton.
The Flyers took a 58-57 lead with 26.3 seconds remaining when Pierre hit all three free throws after being fouled in the left corner by Shannon Scott.
The Buckeyes regained the lead on Craft’s driving reverse layup with 15.5 seconds left.
After Dayton took a timeout with 10.8 seconds remaining, they inbounded the ball and worked it to Sanford on the right wing. Driving the lane without hesitation, he laid in a shot from about 4 feet away.
Sanford is one of two Flyers with tournament experience. He transferred to Dayton after previously playing at Georgetown. Sibert is the other after making two appearances with the Buckeyes.
Devin Oliver scored 11 points for Dayton, while Pierre led with eight rebounds.
Harvard 61, Cincinnati 57
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Siyani Chambers scored 11 points, including five straight in the final two minutes, and 12th-seeded Harvard won its second NCAA tournament game in history, upsetting Cincinnati 61-57 Thursday.
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 No. 5 seed Bearcats, who shared the American Athletic Conference regular season title. Sean Kilpatrick led seed Cincinnati (27-7) with 18 points, but the Bearcats failed to win a tournament game for the second straight year.
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 No. 16 seed Albany 67-55 in the NCAA tournament Thursday.
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.
Oregon 87, BYU 68
MILWAUKEE -- Elgin Cook scored a career-high 23 points in a very happy homecoming, helping seventh-seeded Oregon beat 10th-seeded BYU 87-68 the NCAA tournament on Thursday.
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.
Led by Cook, a Milwaukee native who starred at nearby Hamilton High School, the Ducks advanced to a third-round game against No. 2 seed Wisconsin on Saturday in the West 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 in a 77-53 victory over Western Michigan on Thursday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse (28-5), the third seed in the South Regional, will play 11th-seeded Dayton (24-10) on Saturday. Dayton beat Ohio State 60-59 on Thursday.
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 Orange 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.
Pittsburgh 77, Colorado 48
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Talib Zanna scored 16 of his 18 points in the opening half, helping Pittsburgh build a 28-point on the way to a 77-48 rout of Colorado in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.
The Panthers (26-9), seeded ninth in the South Region, shot 51 percent and played stifling defense in advancing to a third-round matchup Saturday against either No. 1 seed Florida or No. 16 seed Albany.
Wisconsin 75, American 35
MILWAUKEE -- Ben Brust scored 17 points and Wisconsin devastated American with a 22-5 run to close the first half in a 75-35 victory Thursday before a friendly crowd in the NCAA tournament.
The second-seeded Badgers (27-7) recovered from a brief first-half rut and seven-point deficit to extinguish the dreams of the15th-seeded Eagles (20-13), champions of the Patriot League.
Michigan State 93, Delaware 78
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Adreian Payne scored a career-high 41 points as the No. 4 Spartans advanced to the third round.
Payne, a 6-10 center, set an NCAA Tournament record by making all 17 of his free throws. He also broke the program’s tournament scoring record.
Travis Trice scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half for Michigan State, which was picked by President Obama to win it all.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.