GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Well before midnight, the first glass slipper was handed out.
Utah State pulled off the first upset of the NCAA Tournament as Curtis Bobb scored eight points in the overtime of a 77-68 victory over fifth-seeded Ohio State at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Bernard Rock collected 18 points and four rebounds as the Big West Conference champion Aggies (28-5), seeded 12th, earned their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1970 and sent Ohio State home early for the second straight year.
"I mentioned yesterday that our school has been to the tournament 14 times and hadn't won a tournament game in 30 years, so it is nice to get that over with," said Utah State coach Stew Morrill.
Bobb's three-point play 1:32 into the extra session put Utah State up for good and ignited a 7-0 run that pushed the Aggies' advantage to 69-61 with a little over two minutes remaining.
Brian Brown drilled a 3-pointer to pull Ohio State within four points, but the Buckeyes would not score again until Sean Connolly's 3-pointer with 17 seconds to play made it 74-68.
Ohio State (20-11), which went to the 1999 Final Four, lost in the second round last season as a No. 3 seed. This year, after losing the top three scorers off that team, the Buckeyes fell victim to the "12 vs. 5" curse In 13 of the last 14 years, a 12th seed has defeated a No. 5 in the first round. The exception came last season, when Florida, a fifth seed, beat Butler in overtime on a buzzer-beating shot by Mike Miller.
"It's a disappointing loss obviously for us," said Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien. "But you've got to give a world of credit to those guys. They played very well. In my mind, they were the better team today." Despite a 10:25 a.m. tip-off time on the body clocks of the Aggies, they never trailed by more than five points, but were down, 60-56, with 1:04 left in regulation following two free throws by Ohio State guard Brent Darby.
Tony Brown cut the deficit in half with a pair of free throws and Utah State had new life after Boban Savovic missed a 3-pointer from the left corner with 18 seconds remaining in the second half.
After a timeout, the 6-3 Tony Brown drove into the lane, where he was met by Ken Johnson, the Big Ten's all-time leading shotblocker. Brown pump-faked once before hitting a fallaway over the outstretched arm of Johnson to tie it with with 1.8 seconds left.
"I figured once I got into the lane, if I pump-faked enough, I could shoot it over him," said Brown. "If I was open, I was going to pull it and try to end it, but then I took it to the key." "I was justing trying to block the shot," Johnson said. "He pump-faked a couple of times and I went for the fake. He made a very difficult shot." Brown finished with 17 points and four assists and Dimitri Jorsee added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Aggies, who committed just five turnovers while forcing 21 and outscored the Buckeyes at the foul line, 14-11.
"Tony Brown is one of those old-fashioned players," Morrill said. "He has a good feel for the game. This is huge for our school and huge for our league. We were carrying the whole league to get something special done here." Behind Johnson's 14 points and 14 rebounds, Ohio State held a dominating 41-26 advantage on the boards.
The Buckeyes appeared to be taking control midway through the second half. A 3-pointer by Connolly forced a 40-40 tie and began a 9-2 run that put Ohio State ahead, 46-42, on Savovic's driving layup with just under nine minutes left.
But Utah State never faltered as Bobb, a 6-5 senior, drained a pair of 3-pointers in the final 5:01 to keep the Aggies within striking distance.
Darby and Connolly scored 11 points apiece for Ohio State, which shot 48 percent (25-of-52) compared to 46 percent (29-of-63) by Utah State.
"I don't think we were surprised by their quickness," O'Brien added. "With 12 steals it's pretty obvious their quickness hurt us. I was the turnovers that hurt us." The Aggies tied a school record for victories, established last season, when they also reached the NCAA Tournament and lost to Connecticut in the opening round.
"Last year I felt I had disappointed my teammates and my coaching staff," said Rock. "I didn't play like I normally play. It was my goal that if we got back into the tournament, I was going to play better." Utah State will play UCLA in the second round on Saturday.