After beating both the Ohio State Buckeyes and Syracuse Orange in rapid succession less than a week ago, the Dayton Flyers have shown once again that they can compete with-and beat-any team in the country. With Ohio State transfer Jordan Sibert’s shooting ability and the late-game heroics of Vee Sanford, the Flyers look to be a tougher out than previously anticipated.
Tonight, the Flyers’s victims were the Stanford Cardinal, who made it this far by pulling off their fair share of upsets as well. They took down an extremely tough New Mexico squad that many were picking to appear in the Sweet Sixteen, as well as the two seed Kansas, who was without star center Joel Embiid. Stanford’s size and shooting ability was too much for opponents, which allowed them to coast to a match-up with Dayton.
Don’t let the 82-72 score fool you, this game was all Dayton. While both teams started out hot early, the Flyers managed to pull out to a comfy seven point lead, despite committing six fouls before the under-twelve television timeout. Dayton had the hot hand, lead by guard Jordan Sibert who hit four three pointers. It seemed like no matter how often Stanford would go on a run, Dayton was exceptional at countering it with a run of their own.
Stanford couldn’t buy a break near the end and the foul trouble of Stanford seemed to put the nail in the coffin. Stanford had to sit two key big men, Stefan Nastic and Dwight Powell, after they acquired five and four fouls, respectively. Stanford couldn’t hit shots on the level that Dayton was. As simple as it may sound, the shooting success of Dayton is what won them this game-and by a larger margin than their previous two.
Dayton will now face off against either the overall number one seed, Florida, or the four seed UCLA in the Elite Eight. Those two squads are both conference tournament champions and will be locked in a tight battle tonight. Dayton is looking to make some Flyer magic once again and earn what would be their second Final Four appearance, their first since 1967.
Box Score, from ESPN.com: