Sam Thompson scored 18 points, Aaron Craft added 16 and LaQuinton Ross chipped in 10 but it wasn't enough to overcome 10 combined turnovers from Q and Craft, complete duds from Amir Williams and Lenzelle Smith Jr. and a game-winning shot by Dayton's Vee Sanford with :06 left.
The loss stopped Ohio State's streak of four straight Sweet Sixteen appearances and ended the collegiate careers of Craft and Smith.
Finishing the season at 25-10, the Buckeyes reached double-digit losses for the first time since the 2008-09 season (22-11).
Before closing the book on an early Dance exit, here's Three Things of note from the 60-59 defeat.
how could you be so heartless?
Amir Williams, ladies and gentlemen. I knew it was trouble when in pregame warmups Amir was practically asleep, sprawled out on the floor, looking as if this lunchtime tip was going to be an issue.
Amir was so bad in the first half, he allowed a relative stiff in Matt Kavanaugh tally nine points on 4/5 shooting with a pair of boards and assists as Dayton took a 33-30 halftime lead. Kavanaugh hadn't scored more than nine points in a full game but twice in his previous 10 games.
Williams was also consistently awful coming out top to hedge on ball screens and his lone turnover triggered a Flyer run out. Matta eventually opted to go with a small lineup due to Amir's ineffectiveness and Kavanaugh didn't score in the 2nd half.
I don't write this with any rage as I fully expected this game to come down to the wire but Matta should really ask Amir if he likes playing basketball at all and if he wants to continue. He looks miserable out there. Shows no emotion and is so aloof his new thing is to stop and tie his shoes in the middle of play.
I'm over it. If you can't play hard, you shouldn't be allowed to play here.
seniors fall short
Craft stepped up with 16 big points today along with five boards, four steals and four assists but he also coughed it up five times.
He hit a huge layup to give Ohio State a 59-58 lead with :17 left but on the ensuing possession, Sanford took him off the bounce for the go-ahead bucket and with one last gasp, Craft raced the length of the court but couldn't find the bottom of the cup on a driving layup in heavy traffic.
Despite an outstanding career, Craft made too many uncharacteristic mistakes in back-to-back losses to Michigan and Dayton as he turned it over an almost unbelievable nine times and an ill-advised intentional foul on Jordan Sibert with 2:35 left that put Ohio State down by three. On a turnover by Dyshawn Pierre kept the play from being even more painful.
Smith's postseason was nothing short of dreadful as scored 21 points in four games (5.3 ppg) on 7/25 shooting (28%). He didn't even do much on the glass averaging four per game. Today, Matta even had to rip him during a timeout for loafing which is kind of sad to think about.
Tough to see those two go out with consecutive defeats in such heartbreaking fashion.
SAM SHOWS UP
While the seniors, Smith in particular, failed to step up in the four-game postseason, junior Sam Thompson performed better each time out.
He had a modest seven points each in the first two games but he gave the Buckeyes 11 key points on 5/7 in the loss to Michigan and today, he scored 18 points on 8/11 shooting with four boards and two steals as he tried to pick up the slack created by Q's shaky effort.
The 18 points are 2nd most Thompson has scored in the 2014 calendar year (21 games) and mark just the sixth time during that span he reached double figures.
When the year began, it was Thompson who many saw as on the verge of breaking out but it never came close to happening. Maybe this is the offseason where Thompson actually does make major strides? It's tough to chalk that up as a given but man could Matta use some consistent production from the will-be senior.