BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Luckily for DePaul coach Dave Leitao, Drake Diener knows how to make free throws.
In a game that featured abysmal free-throw shooting by both teams, Diener made all 10 of his foul shots and scored a career-high 28 points to lift DePaul to a 76-69 double-overtime victory over Dayton in the first round of the Phoenix Region.
Delonte Holland added 13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds for the Blue Demons (22-9), who will play second-seeded Connecticut in the second round on Saturday. Leitao was a long-time assistant to Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun before joining DePaul prior to last season.
"I've been around a lot of games and I really don't know if I remember a game where so much heart and determination was displayed by both teams," Leitao said. "There were a lot of reasons for us not to win this basketball game, whether it be missed rebounds or free throws, but I'm so proud of these guys."
DePaul went 23-of-40 from the line - 13-of-30 without Diener's performance - while Dayton was 12-of-23. Both teams made just 2-of-6 free throws in the first overtime, with DePaul's Andre Brown going 0-of-4. He missed all of his 10 attempts from the line.
In the second overtime, Diener made eight free throws, including a pair with 2:13 left that put DePaul ahead for good, 64-63. He sank another pair with 31 seconds left to make it 73-69.
"We were missing a bunch and that was hurting us, and what helped was that they didn't shoot well, either," Diener said. "Once the guys started making them, then I felt more confident and that stabilized it."
"We fouled them on two consecutive possessions (in double overtime) and it was Drake," Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. "That's like giving them a layup. You can't do things like that down the stretch. I thought we did enough to win, but DePaul did more."
Ramod Marshall scored 17 points, Keith Waleskowski added 16 and 16 rebounds and Sean Finn chipped in 16 and 13 for Dayton (24-9), which lost to Tulsa in the first round last year.
"Both teams were competing and both teams wanted to move on," Marshall said. "We knew it was going to come down to the end of the game. They made some big plays and unfortunately, we didn't."
DePaul was without backup guard LeVar Seals, who served a one-game NCAA suspension for throwing a punch against Cincinnati in the Conference USA championship game.
Neither team led by more than seven points and the score was tied, 55-55, before Marshall misfired on a 3-pointer just before the regulation buzzer.
Dayton's Monty Scott airballed a 3-pointer from the right corner in the final second of overtime with the score tied, 59-59. But the inbounds pass by DePaul's Quemont Greer hit the scoreboard at mid-court, giving the Flyers another shot.
The ball was lobbed into the lane to Frank Iguodala, who barely got his hand on it after getting bumped in mid-air by Holland.
"I was confident going into overtime, and we as a team were very sure of ourselves that we were going to win," Diener said. "Going into the second OT, we had that same feeling."
Dayton shot just 34 percent (27-of-79), including just 3-of-20 from the arc. DePaul, which won its first NCAA Tournament game since 1989, shot 41 percent (24-of-59).
"I talked to the guys about going out and competing as hard as they can, and the wins and losses would just fall into place," Gregory said. "I think that's what you saw tonight. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win."