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March 21, 2014

Notes from NCAA Tournament in Buffalo

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — The morning session of the NCAA tournament in Buffalo Thursday afternoon served up two very different games.

Dayton’s upset was brewing the entire second half as Ohio State struggled to make shots. It came down to the end and, after a driving circus shot by Dayton’s Vee Sanford, Ohio State senior Aaron Craft had the ball with the game on the line.

“I just tried to get up the floor as quickly as possible,” said Craft, who had to drive the length of the floor. “There’s only four seconds left. That’s kind of how our whole season’s gone. I thought I got it up there high enough, and I obviously didn’t.”

Craft was rightfully disappointed after his final career game, but the school’s all-time assists leader (694) left everything he had on the court, finishing with 16 points, including several tough finishes near the basket and the go-ahead bucket with 17 seconds left before Sanford’s winner.

OSU head coach Thad Matta called Craft one of the all-time great Buckeyes.

“I thought he was great,” Matta said. “Just from the standpoint of we wouldn’t have been in this position had he not been doing the things he had done to get us here. You look at his career, in my mind, in the 10 years I’ve been at Ohio State, he’s going down as one of the all-time greatest players to ever put on the scarlet and gray.”

In game No. 2, the Orange got out to a big lead early and never looked back.

Syracuse freshman Tyler Ennis scored 16 points and controlled the pace of the game throughout for his Orange. 

Boeheim called the Canadian product “a key guy.”

“We don’t have a whole lot of point guards. He’s extremely important to what we do,” Boeheim said. “I thought he was good today. He’s always pretty solid. Today he made a couple 3s, which makes him even more effective. … He’s been good all year. He’s been very steady all year. He’s a very mature player.”

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