Dayton refuses to let its NCAA tournament ride be over

NCAA Sweet 16University of Dayton redshirt junior guard Jordan Sibert (24) shoots during a game against Stanford University in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, March 27, 2014, at the FedExForum, in Memphis, Tennessee. UD won 82-72 and advances to the Elite 8, to be played in Memphis on Saturday. Ethan Klosterman/Photo Editor

Holding off multiple charges against them in the second half, the University of Dayton men’s basketball team put itself one win from its first appearance in the Final Four in over 45 years.

The first ever meeting between Dayton and Stanford University saw redshirt junior guard Jordan Sibert score 18 points, and the Flyers picked up a 82-72 victory in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament Thursday, March 27, at the
FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.

Dayton had four players score in double figures, including freshman forward Kendall Pollard’s career high of 12.

“We had 11 guys score in the game and from top to bottom, they kept coming and coming,” head coach Archie Miller said.
“The way they shared the ball, the way they moved the ball, I thought we pressured the ball. It was a true team effort.
That’s what they’ve been about all year.”

For the first time in the tournament, Dayton made it easier on themselves by building a big lead and staving off its opponent rather than sweating it out on the final shot for the fourth game in a row.

Stanford cut the Dayton lead to six on three different occasions during the second half and shot over 50 percent for much of the half. However, UD came up with timely buckets to prevent the Cardinal from ever getting closer.

“Good teams are going to go on runs like that,” redshirt senior guard Vee Sanford said. “We have to hold our composure, especially against good teams in March. I feel like we did pretty well.”

UD didn’t back down its pressure late in the game, continuing to attack and took its largest lead of the night at 14 points off a layup in transition from senior forward Devin Oliver with 2:48 remaining, UD’s only field goal in the last
six minutes of the game.

“We really knew if we kept attacking them, they would fall back eventually,” sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierre said. “We
got the lead and kind of kept it for the whole game.”

Stanford missed 11 of its final 14 shots in the game, while Dayton connected on seven of its final 11 to close out the victory.

Senior guard Chasson Randle, Stanford’s leading scorer, had 21 points to lead four Cardinal players in double figures. Senior forward Dwight Powell also added 17, while junior forward Stefan Nastic had 15 before fouling out with 5:04 to
play.

Dayton went into the half with a 42-32 lead behind eight points each from Sibert and Pollard. Stanford gave up 53 and 57 points respectively in its first two games of the tournament before allowing the Flyers offensive outburst in the first half.

Dayton moves on the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984, playing Saturday, March 29, at a to be determined time against either the tournament’s top seed in the University of Florida or the No. 4-seed University of California, Los
Angeles with a trip to the Final Four in Dallas, Texas, on the line.

Three 11-seeds have previously reached the Final Four. Fellow current Atlantic 10 Conference members Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011 and George Mason University in 2006 were the most recent to do so, along with Louisiana State University in 1986.

After wins against The Ohio State University, Syracuse University and now Stanford in this tournament, Dayton is set for a shot at becoming the fourth.