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Published: Saturday, July 20, 2019 @ 7:50 PM
BEXLEY — Five years after Aaron Craft fell to the ground and stared at the rafters after missing a game-winning shot at the buzzer against the Dayton Flyers in the first round of the NCAA tournament, he will get a chance to earn a measure of revenge Sunday.
» PHOTOS: Red Scare beats Mid-American Unity
The former Ohio State Buckeyes guard is one of the stars of top-seeded Carmen’s Crew, which will face a Dayton alumni team, the third-seeded Red Scare, at noon Sunday in the third round of The Basketball Tournament.
Craft said he sometimes thinks about that 60-59 loss in 2014, but it’s not eating away at him.
“I’ve been able to have a fun and successful career,” Craft said. “I loved my time at Ohio State. I wish it had lasted forever. Obviously, it had to come to an end. I’m kind of glad it came to an end against a team that was playing the right way. They made a run run to the Elite Eight that year and were playing great basketball. It wasn’t like we lost to a team that just barely beat us. They earned the win.”
» THRILLING FINISH: Dayton advances on Oliver’s dunk
Four Red Scare players were on the 2014 team that beat Ohio State. Devin Oliver and Vee Sanford were seniors that season. Kyle Davis and Kendall Pollard were freshman. A fifth player, Dyshawn Pierre, who was a sophomore in 2014, was supposed to play for the Red Scare but withdrew from the team earlier in the week.
Sanford hit the go-ahead shot with 3.8 seconds to play. Craft took the in-bounds pass and dribbled the length of the court before taking a jump shot in traffic with four Flyers surrounding him — Oliver, Sanford, Khari Price and Devon Scott — and missing. Craft had given the Buckeyes the lead on their previous possession.
Oliver, who scored 11 points in the game, said he remembers “trying not to foul Craft when he was going down the floor. There was no foul. I was straight up. He still almost made it.”
Davis played only three minutes in the game and had no stats other than a personal foul and a missed 3-pointer but said he remembers everything.
“It was a tight game,” Davis said. “The crowd was crazy. It was a great atmosphere. The refs let us play. That’s what I liked about the (NCAA) tournament. They let us play when we played Ohio State and Syracuse. They let us ball out. To have (Ohio State) again and beat them again, it would be a great feeling.”
Craft scored 16 points against Dayton in 2014. Another member of Carmen’s Crew, LaQuinton Ross, also played in the game and scored 10. Craft and Ross each scored 11 points Saturday in a 89-75 victory against Big X.
Dayton advanced with an 80-78 victory against Mid-American Unity. Oliver clinched the victory with a game-ending dunk and scored 22 points. Sanford had 17.
This isn’t the first time Sanford and Craft have crossed paths since 2014.