The afternoon sessions provided a few good moments over the first day of the NCAA Tournament’s second round on Thursday. But when the sun went down, the drama was on the rise.
In the daylight hours, 11th-seeded Dayton earned in-state bragging rights by edging sixth-seeded Ohio State, 60-59, in the South Region, when senior guard Van Sanford made a running layup with six seconds left, before senior guard and Ohio native Aaron Craft ended his otherwise solid college career by missing a last-second attempt in the lane before the final buzzer. Those plays ended an exciting stretch run in which neither team held more than a four-point lead over the last 11:57, or greater than a two-point advantage over the final 8:09.
Later, 12th-seeded Harvard surprised again. One year after posting its first NCAA tournament win as a 14 seed, the Ivy League champs built a nine-point first half lead and held off fifth-seeded Cincinnati, 61-57, in the East Region.
At the same time, senior center Adreian Payne was enjoying one of the most efficient individual games in NCAA tournament history, while scoring a game-high 41 points on just 15 field goal attempts (he made 10), to lead fourth-seeded Michigan State past 13th-seeded Delaware, 93-78. Payne also grabbed eight rebounds and sank a tournament record 17 free throws without a miss.
While the above were all good stories, the last was expected, and the first two weren’t that surprising.
It wasn’t until nightfall that the tourney turned into must-see television in an historic way during prime time. In the end, the evening sessions featured:
- Four overtime games — the first time in NCAA tournament history that occurred on the same day.
- The 2014 tournament’s first game-winning buzzer beater.
- A near major upset of the defending national champions and popular pick to return to the Final Four.
It was all so compelling, it’s worth revisiting…