Standing in the corner near the Ohio State bench, Evan Turner stared blankly across the court at UD Arena, hands on both of his hips. At the far corner, Siena's players were a fountain of green, leaping up and down in celebration.
It was finally over. No. 9 seed Siena had defeated No. 8 seed OSU, 74-72, in two overtimes. In the final seconds, it was Turner who had the chance to send it to a third – and his dramatic shot rimmed out.
Siena went ahead for good on a three-pointer by Ronald Moore, whose jumper from near the top of the circle found nothing but net with 3.9 seconds remaining. Turner took the ball out and inbounded it to P.J. Hill, who quickly passed it back to him.
Flying up the left side of the court, Turner spun near the three-point line, took a step and let loose a jumper like he had so many other times this season.
It rolled around the rim and fell harmlessly to the floor as the Buckeyes' season came to an abrupt end.
"It felt good," he said.
The shot capped a game that was as ugly as it was chaotic. The two teams combined for 42 turnovers, and although the Saints (27-7) committed 22 of them, they out-rebounded the Buckeyes (22-11) by a 53-37 margin that was even more lopsided on the offensive glass: 23 to 9.
Siena's Ronald Moore delivered the dagger. With 17.9 seconds left on the clock, Turner again spun through the lane and laid it in, giving him a game-high 25 points and putting his team ahead 72-71.
The problem was that he had left too much time on the clock, and with 3.9 seconds left on the clock Moore buried a wide-open three-pointer to set the stage for Turner's final miss.
"It's disappointing to lose a double-overtime game; I don't care if it's your home opener or the NCAA Tournament," head coach Thad Matta said. "There's so many plays you can go back and look and say, ‘had we done this, had we done that.'
"I think as I get out of here and really sit down, I'm sure I'll get a bit pissed off."
After the Buckeyes opened up an 11-point second-half lead, the Saints crawled back into it and finally tied the game at 44-all with 2:57 remaining. The Buckeyes then pushed the lead back to four points on three separate occasions, but both teams had chances to win the game at the end.
With OSU ahead 56-52 with 1:18 remaining, Siena had a chance to pull ahead with 8.0 seconds remaining when senior captain Kenny Hasbrouck went to the line to shoot two free throws trailing by a point at 56-55. He missed the first but made the second, setting up Turner's first chance for game-winning heroics.
After spinning through a host of defenders and drawing contact, Turner's last-second shot rimmed out as he sprawled out on the floor and overtime was suddenly in the cards.
Again, OSU had a chance to win it at the end of the first overtime – and likely should. With 9.9 seconds left on the clock, Hill hit two free throws to set the score at 65-62 but then he committed a mistake he later regretted.
Rather than foul his opponent and force him to shoot two free throws, he allowed Siena's Moore – who was 0 for 4 from three-point range to that point – to bury the game-tying three-pointer with 3.3 seconds left. A Jon Diebler missed three-pointer at the buzzer set the stage for the second and final extra period.
Each of Siena's starters finished in double digits, and two finished with double-doubles. Leading the way were post players Ryan Rossiter (16 points, 15 rebounds) and Alex Franklin (10 and 13), while Edwin Ubiles added 20 points.
The Buckeyes were largely limited to Turner. Freshman William Buford added 11 points while playing with foul trouble for the majority of the game, and classmate B.J. Mullens added 10. Guard Jon Diebler suffered a lower leg injury early in the game and looked off for the remainder, finishing with six points on 2-for-11 shooting from three-point range.
Turner was the last to leave the court at halftime and received a solitary fist-bump from Offutt after his attempt at the final shot of the half resulted in a turnover and kept the score at 28-23 in favor of the Buckeyes.
The possession typified a sloppy first half that saw the teams combine for 23 turnovers with Siena leading the way at 12.