Columbus Hosts Exciting Round of NCAA March Madness
The first day of the second round featured many exciting games in Nationwide Arena. The opening game featured West Virginia v. Buffalo. It was the MAC schools first time in the big dance, and they gave WVU all they could handle in the second half before Bob Huggin’s team was able to put them away 68-62. The second game was also close, as Valparaiso took 4 seed Maryland down to the wire before losing 65-62. The Crusaders had the ball for the final possession, but were unable to even get a shot off. “They switched the screen and I was supposed to pop back for a three,” Alec Peters said, “they guarded it well. They defended it well.”
Valpo Head Coach Bryce Drew also took the loss hard. “It’s easier as a player. You take it hard. But a coach, you don’t sleep well for a long time. You second guess everything you do as a coach,” Drew said.
The third game wasn’t much of a contest, as the Oklahoma Sooners led from start to finish over the Albany Great Danes. Though they weren’t able to put them away until the end, the result was never in doubt. The final score was 69-60.
The game that the crowd was waiting for was the final one of the evening, and tip-off was delayed for over an hour due to the length of the other contests. But shortly after 11p.m., the audience got what they wanted when the Dayton Flyers took the floor against the Providence Friars. The game was one of the uglier ones in tournament history, with neither team being able to shoot the ball. The majority of Dayton’s points came from the free throw line before their three point shooting picked up. They were able to ride that to a 66-53 win, despite not being able to rebound against the Friar’s height.
The Friar’s only attempted seven free throws to Dayton’s 30, which may have been a factor that lead to Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley getting a technical. He knocked a chair onto the court late in the second quarter. “Honest, I didn’t even know I hit the chair,” Cooley said, “You’re coaching your team. You’re trying to put some emotion into your team…I don’t know how it looked on tape or whatever, but I’m just trying to coach my team.”
Now Dayton will move on to face Oklahoma in what could be a winnable game for the Flyers, and would be their second straight trip to the Sweet Sixteen should they pull it off. They will tip at 6:30 on Sunday, to be followed by Maryland v. West Virginia.