There had already been 40 games played in the 2014 NCAA Tournament but it took the 41st between the 11 seed Dayton Flyers and 3rd-seeded Syracuse Orange for offense to hit a new low. Or so we thought.
Keep it in perspective, of course, but in the second round, the Michigan Wolverines took down the Wofford Terriers 57-40 without any rumblings of how bad the either offense was. Maybe it was because the score at the half in that game was 34-20 in favor of the Wolverines. The score at the break between the Flyers and Orange? 20-18.
Both offenses failed to put up many points and Syracuse looked far from the team that was number one in the land for much of the season and more like the team that struggled down the stretch. Towards the end of the game with his team trailing 47-42, Syracuse’s freshman phenom Tyler Ennis decided it was go time and put the Orange on his back. He scored the final 11 points for the Orange but it wasn’t enough as Dayton held on for a thrilling 55-53 win. Ennis’ three at the buzzer, just like the other nine three-point attempts put up by the Orange, was no good.
For the game, they were 0-for-10 from behind the arc but surprisingly they didn’t have the worst three-point shooting display of the tournament — Saint Louis was 0-for-15 in their 66-51 loss to Louisville earlier today.
Only those who actually watched will remember what a struggle it actually was to keep it tuned to the game. The final score wasn’t indicative of the game it was shaping up to be, but then, with under three minutes left, it got a lot more tantalizing to watch and eventually David slayed Goliath.
For the Flyers and head coach Archie Miller, it was their second upset in as many games this tournament. When asked which win was sweeter, he responded, “Advancing, ya know every time you advance it feels a little better.”
For a team many thought was a bubble team at best, the Flyers are proving the selection committee right and the doubters wrong. After finishing in 5th-place in the Atlantic 10 this year, Dayton is advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1984 and they couldn’t be happier. They’re just the sixteenth 11-seed to advance this far and first since NC State did it in 2012.
Take a look at the scene in the locker room post game:
Of the six teams from the Atlantic 10 to make it to the tournament, the Flyers, the lowest of them all, are the only ones dancing on to the Sweet Sixteen.