Who wants next? The 11-seed Dayton Flyers disposed of the 10-seeded Stanford Cardinal tonight 82-72 as the last remaining A-10 team advanced to the Elite Eight. The win also marks the first time UD will advance to the Regional Finals since 1984, which was another Cinderella season. Also, we have to mention that the Rhode Island Rams absolutely lit up the Flyers two months ago. As College Chalktalk’s Bill Koch tweeted, basketball is a funny game.
From the opening tip, Dayton was determined to expose whatever defense the Cardinal threw at them. They did just that, using a big run midway through the first half to open up a big lead that they would never relinquish. With Stanford leading 19-18 at the 9:52 mark, the Flyers broke out. Archie Miller’s squad ripped off a 16-4 run to make it 34-23 with 5:42 left, and it was relatively smooth sailing from there. UD flexed their offensive muscles in the first 20 minutes, hitting six threes and six layups en route to a 42-point performance and a 10-point lead.
The second half saw a brief run from the Cardinal to cut Dayton’s lead to four early on, but that would be as close as they would get. Not only that, but as soon as Stanford made their push, the Flyers answered with an 8-0 run, as they asserted themselves on offense for 40 minutes.
How did they drop 82 on one of the better defensive teams in the Pac-12? In a word, passing. UD shared the ball incredibly well as they racked up 19 assists on 28 made field goals. Jordan Sibert led the way for the Flyers, dropping 18 points on 7-12 shooting, including 4-9 from three. Devin Oliver, Matt Kavanaugh, and Kendall Pollard also found their way into double-figures as Dayton’s depth was on display.
They Flyers will need the deep bench (and more) if they’re going to advance to the Final Four. Dayton will face the winner of Florida and UCLA on Saturday with a trip to Arlington, Texas on the line.