- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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March Mayhem at its best, baby! It did not take long to have the first shock city results of the tournament.
Vee Sanford became a hero in Dayton, Ohio, with a shot that will go down in history as a special moment in Flyers basketball. His winning shot with 3.8 seconds left gave 11th-seeded Dayton a shocking victory over in-state rival Ohio State, a 6-seed, in the South Regional.
I know personally what that meant for the Dayton team, fans and community. I coached at the University of Detroit, and it was always special when we had an opportunity to play Michigan. In my last game with the Titans, we faced the No. 1 Wolverines at Rupp Arena in the NCAA tournament regional semifinal, and the game went to the wire.
Michigan got to the winner's circle that day, but we took a lot out of them emotionally and mentally. It was 36 hours later that the Wolverines were upset by North Carolina-Charlotte, costing Michigan a shot at the national title.
Dayton coach Archie Miller had to be on cloud nine after Thursday's thriller over the Buckeyes. It was a great victory over a quality opponent that won 25 games this season. Believe me, Ohio State has nothing to be ashamed of.
There were several heroes for the Flyers besides Sanford. Dyshawn Pierre, a 66-percent free throw shooter during the regular season, hit three pressure-packed ones with 26.3 seconds left to give Dayton a 58-57 lead.
Center Matt Kavanaugh, who averaged 5.5 points per game this season, had nine big points in the first half as the Flyers led 33-30 at intermission.
Then there was Jordan Sibert, a transfer from Ohio State. His nine points probably felt like 30 to him. He had to feel like a million bucks after that win.
It was sad, in a way, as Aaron Craft's collegiate career came to an end. He did everything he could. His driving layup with 3 1/2 minutes left gave the Buckeyes a short-lived lead. He hit a shot with 15.5 seconds left that put Ohio State ahead by one.
At the end, Craft's last shot fell away and the Buckeyes left the court with their season over. Craft finished with 16 points in his finale. His hard work and tenacious defense was always enjoyable to watch.
With the victory, Dayton got a big win for the Atlantic 10 over the Big Ten. Thursday night, the Flyers will dominate the headlines in the state of Ohio.