Rushed Reactions: #11 Dayton 60, #6 Ohio State 59Posted by Tommy Lemoine on March 20th, 2014
Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion.
Three Key Takeaways.
- The Battle of Ohio was even better than expected. When this game popped up on Selection Sunday, it was tabbed as one of the better round of 64 matchups, and it more than lived up to the hype. There were several huge momentum swings throughout the game, both fan bases had their moments, and the final five minutes – a taut five minutes – was rife with huge plays. The first game of the day will be tough to top throughout the rest of this round’s action.
- These Flyers are resilient. Sam Thompson sparked a big Ohio State run midway through the second half to put the Buckeyes back on top, and it looked like danger zone for Dayton. Unable to get any looks underneath and completely out of sync offensively, the Flyers very well could have faded into oblivion over the final 10 minutes. Instead, they kept attacking in transition and never hung their heads on the defensive end. It paid off. They reached the bonus relatively early on, hit some free throws, and kept the game tight. And when Aaron Craft’s layup fell through with 10 seconds on the clock, Archie Miller’s guys confidently ran the ball up the floor, got it into Vee Sanford’s hands, and he made the magic happen – a Raftery-sizedkiss off the glass to finish off the upset.
- Aaron Craft’s career ends. Regardless of how you feel about Craft, you should not remember him for the bad intentional foul he committed late in the second half. Instead, the lasting image should be the way he responded – by attacking the rim and making several enormous baskets down the stretch. If that Sanford shot had rimmed out, we’d be talking about Craft as the hero, again. Hate him, love him, the guy is a tough player who did a lot of great things in Columbus over the past four years. Remember that side of it.
Star of the Game. Dyshawn Pierre (12 points, eight rebounds, 2-of-2 FG, 7-of-7 FT). Sanford hit the big shot, but Pierre hit several enormous free throws when Dayton needed to stay within strinking distance. With around a minute to play, the sophomore – a 65 percent free through shooter – drew a foul on a three-pointer, calmly stepped to the stripe and sunk three shots to put the Flyers up. In fact, he never missed a shot of any type all afternoon.
Quotable. “A place like ours has its own special tradition, has a great program, an unbelievable fan base. In my opinion, the best fan base in the state of Ohio for basketball.” – Dayton head coach Archie Miller, on Wednesday.
Sights & Sounds. There may have been more Scarlet and Gray in the First Niagara Center, but you wouldn’t know it by merely listening. Dayton fans were on their feet and chanting “Let’s Go Flyers” throughout afternoon, and the band – crazy hats and all – was groovin’ like none other.
What’s Next? The Flyers will take on the winner of the Syracuse-Western Michigan game, coming up next. If it ends up being the Orange, Dayton will need to shoot better than 3-of-13 from behind the arc in order to beat that vaunted 2-3 zone.