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Zion-esque shoe blowout is most exciting part of Ohio's trip to second round

Jason Owens
·2-min read

Double-digit seed upsets are arguably the best part of the NCAA tournament.

That is until they lead to blowouts in later rounds. This was the case on Monday as Ohio's Cinderella run met a swift end in a second-round 72-58 loss to No. 5 seed Creighton. It marked a stark contrast to the excitement surrounding the 13th-seeded Bobcats when they dethroned reigning NCAA champion Virginia on Saturday.

Busted shoe makes matters worse

To make a bad situation worse, the leading scorer from that upset suffered an equipment malfunction on Monday. With his Bobcats trailing 52-33 in the second half, junior forward Ben Vander Plas' shoe blew out.

While defending Creighton's Damien Jefferon, Vander Plas planted his right foot in the post. His shoe was not up to the task. The sole separated from the body, and Vander Plas' foot poked through.

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Memories of Zion

The moment elicited memories of Zion Williamson's famous shoe blowout in a 2019 Duke-North Carolina game — with a couple of key differences.

Vander Plas was not injured. Williamson's busted shoe resulted in a sprained knee that knocked him out of the rivalry matchup as well as the rest of the regular season.

Creighton guard Mitch Ballock (24) draws the foul from Ohio forward Ben Vander Plas (5) in the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
A busted shoe made a bad day worse as Ohio fell to Creighton on Monday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Also, Vander Plas was wearing Adidas. Williamson was wearing Nike that day, leading to speculation that the malfunction could end up costing the apparel company a lucrative deal with the rising star once he turned pro. Spoiler alert: It did not.

Vander Plas quickly returned to the game after replacing his shoe with one that didn't match.

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He ended up with nine points and 10 rebounds while shooting 3-of-12 from the field. Overall, not a great day. But still a great run for Ohio, which rode a fifth-place finish in the MAC to a conference tournament championship and one of the NCAA tournament's biggest first-round upsets.

The only real loser on the day is Adidas.

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