Stanford had no defensive answer for Dayton and played from behind for most of the game. (Streeter Lecka/Getty)
There is simply no stopping this Dayton train — at least not yet. The Flyers rode a balanced effort on offense and took advantage of Stanford’s foul trouble to sink the 10-seeded Cardinal, 82-72, in the Sweet Sixteen. The win was 11-seed Dayton’s third straight upset during its NCAA tournament run and earned a spot in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984.
Against Stanford, the Flyers did what they do best: They went deep into their bench, rotating fresh legs in and out and keeping the Cardinal defenders on their toes. That strategy was especially productive in the first half when Dayton burst out of a tight contest with a 15-4 run to take an early lead.
At halftime, Dayton had cycled through 12 players, eight of whom had scored. The result? A 42-32 lead at the break.
Early in the second half Jordan Sibert knocked down a triple — the Flyers’ seventh of the game — to keep Dayton in control, 47-36. But the Cardinal rallied, and a layup by Dwight Powell with just under than 16 minutes to play cut the Flyers’ lead to four at 47-43.
A few minutes later, Stanford’s shot at taking the lead took a big hit when Stefan Nastic picked up his fourth foul. The Cardinal big man had 13 points when he headed to the bench with 13:22 to play, leaving Stanford without a key piece of its post game. Later, four fouls on Powell further depleted coach Johnny Dawkins’ arsenal of big men.
Dayton didn't relent. Scoochie Smith banked in a layup at 10:15 that gave the Flyers’ a 61-49 lead, and they matched each ensuing Stanford threat in the waning moments.
Dayton has epitomized the bracket-buster this postseason, having disposed of 6-seed Ohio State and 3-seed Syracuse prior to stopping Stanford on Thursday. As it goes, things won’t get easier for the Flyers going forward: They’ll face the winner of Thursday night’s UCLA-Florida matchup in the Elite Eight. But high-seeded teams haven’t done much to intimidate coach Archie Miller’s club thus far. If the Flyers keep playing team basketball, there’s no telling what magic is left in this Cinderella.
[si_video id="video_81C471D0-3580-1159-DF27-069EEA13A80D" height="500"]