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BLOOMINGTON, IN - MARCH 20: Ben Vander Plas #5 of the Ohio Bobcats celebrates during the closing seconds of their 62-58 win over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I MenÕs Basketball Tournament held at at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 20, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN – MARCH 20: Ben Vander Plas #5 of the Ohio Bobcats celebrates during the closing seconds of their 62-58 win over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I MenÕs Basketball Tournament held at at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 20, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Ohio Men’s Basketball: Bracket-Busting Bobcats Upset Virginia in First Round of NCAA Tournament

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WOUB) — As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the several hundred Ohio Bobcat fans inside Assembly Hall made it sound like the historic building was filled with 17,000 strong.  After the buzzer sounded, the Ohio bench stormed onto the court and celebrated, much like the Bobcats did after their 2010 and 2012 first round wins.

It was March Madness at its finest.  Brackets around the country are busted.  The Ohio Bobcats defeat the defending national champions.

No. 13 Ohio (17-7)  upset Virginia (18-7) in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night, 62-58.

“Just really, really proud of our guys,” Ohio head coach Jeff Boals said.  “There were multiple times in the second half they could have broke. We always talk about bend but don’t break.”

The Ohio Bobcats celebrate after their 62-58 win over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament held at at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 20, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
The Ohio Bobcats celebrate after their 62-58 win over the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament held at at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 20, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The win was celebrated by Bobcat fans not only in Assembly Hall, but around the country.  Ohio University Men’s Basketball has officially put the college basketball world on notice.

“It’s something that every school like ours dreams about,” Boals said.   “With social media the way it is right now, I can imagine what Court Street is doing. Our goal is to represent Ohio University the right way on the floor, off the floor. We got 15 great kids to do that. I know they’re proud of them.”

Ohio trailed Virginia for nearly the entire first half.  The Bobcats cut the lead to one point just before the half with a Ben Vander Plas three-pointer, giving Ohio the momentum heading to the break.

Vander Plas made a huge difference for the Bobcats in the second half.  Vander Plas scored ten points in the second half, including back-to-back threes to springboard Ohio ahead for good.

“Obviously basketball is a game of runs.  You always hear that,” Vander Plas said.  “We got a couple good shots, got a couple stops in a row. That’s a big thing for us. When we can string some stops together, we’re a pretty good offensive team. The big focus for us is getting those stops that lead to buckets on the offensive end.”

Vander Plas finished with a team-leading 17 points.

“[Vander Plas] did what his old man would do when I played with him: make key plays,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said.  “He’s really good. Hit some big threes end of the half. That was a big three, then the two threes he hit and a couple drives. He’s just skilled and sound and he knows how to play the game.”

Ben Roderick was key for the Bobcats in the first half and finished the night with 15 points.  Jason Preston also finished with a double-double, tallying 11 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Virginia has one of the better defenses in the country, but Ohio put the Cavaliers’ defense to the test.  The Bobcats shot 21-of-50 (42 percent) from the field and 7-of-23 from three.  Additionally, Ohio outrebounded Virginia, 38-29.

The Virginia Cavaliers take on the Ohio Bobcats in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament held at at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 20, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
The Virginia Cavaliers take on the Ohio Bobcats in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament held at at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 20, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Virginia only shot 35 percent from the field and 8-of-31 from deep.  Sam Hauser led the Cavs with 15 points.  Trey Murphy III also reached double figures with 12 points.

Ohio will face No. 5 Creighton on Monday at a to-be-determined time and location.

“Confidence is a huge thing for us,” Vander Plas said.  “I think you guys might be able to see it, but we’re out there playing free, playing confident. I know me especially, over the past couple weeks, I’ve been talking a lot to Jay about P.J. Tucker, how he goes out and guards one through five, plays with irrational confidence. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, just go out there and just play free.”