When the Buckeyes needed the biggest play of the game, he could not.
Trailing 70-68 with 3.7 seconds remaining, senior guard Jamar Butler stood at the free-throw line. Having just made one from the charity stripe to pull his team within two points, the Buckeyes had called a timeout to diagram what would come next.
Butler's free throw intentionally rimmed out and right into the hands of Koufos, whose putback did not fall. At least two more attempts by the Buckeyes did not fall either and the Oilers celebrated an upset of last season's national runner-up squad on their home court, 70-68.
"I think certainly this game meant a lot more to us than it did to them," Findlay head coach Ron Niekamp said. "For us, it's the thrill of a lifetime. To them, it's just another day of basketball. We had a lot of motivation."
That much seemed obvious as the Oilers committed more turnovers than the Buckeyes and shot just a touch better from the floor (48.3 percent to 47.1) but held an advantage in hustle plays.
"No, I don't think it was," OSU head coach Thad Matta said when asked if his team's effort was there. "We picked and chose and you can't play that way when No. 1 you're as young as we are and No. 2 when there's so many unknowns."
Despite it all, the Buckeyes had a chance to pull even in regulation prior to the missed putback attempt. Guard Marcus Parker missed a layup with 18 seconds remaining that would have made it a five-point Findlay lead and Butler pushed the ball up the court.
Rather than call a timeout, draw up a play and make a few substitutions, Matta said he wanted to see how his players would react in the situation.
The Oilers tied up Butler deep behind the arc, and as he unsuccessfully tried to maneuver an open three-point attempt, he was fouled by Evans with 3.7 seconds left and headed to the line.
"Wouldn't you be? Come on," Butler said when asked if he was embarrassed. "You got beat by a Division-II team. Yeah I'm embarrassed. If I say it's not big deal I'd be lying. There's not too much to be said."
The Buckeyes eked out a one-point lead with 1:25 remaining in the first half after senior forward Matt Terwilliger converted a free throw to make it 33-32, but a three-pointer by Findlay guard Tyler Evans – his only basket of the half – set the halftime score at 35-33, Oilers.
OSU would not lead again. Findlay opened the second half on a 9-2 run in the first four minutes and controlled the tempo from then on out.
With 12 minutes remaining, Matta said his mind had been made up.
"I wanted to see what we would do," he said. "My mind was set at about 12 minutes to go in the game. I knew where my mind was if we won, lost whatever, I knew where my mind was."
At that point, it was a 51-45 Oilers lead.
Findlay was led by guard Marcus Parker, who finished with 18 points on 8 of 15 shooting. The Buckeyes got 22 points from Butler, who went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc, and 20 points from Koufos – 16 of which came in the second half. No other Buckeye scored in double digits.
Starting senior forward Othello Hunter was hampered by foul trouble for nearly the entire game. In 13 minutes, he did not take a shot from the field and recorded one rebound.
The Buckeyes managed to get within two points in the second half once until the final seconds, but Findlay was able to answer. A 5-0 run that consisted of two Koufos free throws and a deep trey by freshman Jon Diebler made it 66-64 with 3:08 remaining, but a jumper by forward Josh Bostic from the top of the circle pushed the lead to four points.
Koufos then missed two free throws at the other end, and Bostic converted on two of his to push the lead to six points. Butler hit his fifth trey of the night to cut the deficit in half with 1:52 remaining and that's where it would stay until the last few seconds.
After the final buzzer sounded, the sizeable contingent of Findlay fans cheered as the Oilers celebrated on OSU's home court.
After enjoying an early 10-4 lead, the Buckeyes watched as the Oilers went on a 10-0 run to seize control. During the run, OSU turned the ball over twice, missed two three-pointers and had one shot blocked. Freshman Eric Wallace converted two free throws to temporary stop the bleeding and pull OSU to within two at 14-12, but Findlay opened up a 30-17 lead thanks to sloppy play by the Buckeyes on offense and ineffectiveness on defense.
During the 16-5 Findlay run, Parker scored 9 points. In one three-possession stint, he stole the ball from OSU's P.J. Hill and scored on the ensuing fast break and then scored again one possession later after shaking free from Hill on offense.
After the game, MSU head coach Tom Izzo kicked his players out of the locker room and made them dress in the hallway. Matta was asked if he would be pulling any similar actions in the wake of this loss.
"I don't know yet," he said. "I want to look at the film and just see how awful we actually were."