By: Jonathan Kostoff – Staff Writer
The second best scorer in the country since the turn of the calendar year, Derrick Marks, had the ball in his hands for Boise State University with less than five seconds to play and down one point.
He had missed his last five field goals leading up to the moment, but Dayton’s Kyle Davis locked down defense forced Marks into an errant jumper he’d love to have back.
The Flyers, in front of 12,592 fans, stole a victory 56-55 over Boise State of the Mountain West Conference Thursday night.
It was an atmosphere you had to be there to understand. An NCAA tournament game on your own home floor was something this team will never forget. It was the first time they played at UD Arena in the NCAA Tournament in 30 years.
“They kept us going,” redshirt senior guard Jordan Sibert said. “We knew when we got down they picked their intensity up which made us pick ours up and I don’t think we would have won that without them.”
The Flyers struggled mightily in the first half and nothing went their way. Sibert picked up his third foul with just over seven minutes remaining in the half and his body language mirrored his emotions.
“It’s frustrating, extremely frustrating, but you’ve got to stay with it,” Sibert said. Boise State proceeded to go on a 16-7 run to end the half and go into the intermission with a nine-point lead, 29-20.
They took the life practically out of the building that was a sea of Flyer red.
It was the biggest halftime deficit the Flyers had faced since the 12-point deficit they faced at Davidson College on Jan. 20.
Head coach Archie Miller just wanted the team to be who they are and do what got them to the NCAA Tournament in the second half.
“At halftime, we really didn’t talk about a whole lot other than you better get back to being who we are and doing what we do the way we do it,” Coach Miller said.
Scoochie Smith’s 3-pointer knotted the game up at 34 with less than 15 minutes to go, but Derrick Marks would not let the Broncos bow down easily.
Marks, who finished with a game high 23 points, helped set up a seven point lead for Boise State with under four minutes to play.
Then the magic of March for Dayton happened, again.
Sibert hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining to give Dayton a one-point lead.
After a missed jumper by Boise State’s redshirt junior guard Montigo Alford, Dayton sophomore forward Kendall Pollard was quickly fouled and headed to the free throw line to try and seal it.
He missed both free throws, but Kyle Davis saved the day on the defensive end just like he has time and time again for Dayton.
“Kyle is a warrior,” Miller said. “We’re not where we’re at right now without him.”
The Flyers will road trip 65 miles to Columbus for a Friday round of 64 matchup with the sixth seeded Providence College out of the Big East Conference at the Nationwide Arena. The game is set to tip off at 9:57 p.m. on truTV.