Dayton knocks off Stanford to advance to first Elite Eight since 1984

Sam Cooper
Dayton players celebrate a three-point shot against Stanford during the second half in a regional semifinal game at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. Dayton won 82-72. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Every time it looked like Dayton’s lead over Stanford was in jeopardy, the Flyers made a play that reminded you why Archie Miller’s team has shocked the nation to make a deep tournament run. Whether it was an offensive rebound, an extra pass or just a hustle play, the Flyers would not wilt.

Behind double-digit scoring efforts from four different players, the No. 11 seeded Flyers knocked off the No. 10 seed Cardinal 82-72 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984. The Flyers will square off with the winner of Thursday night’s Florida-UCLA game.

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Junior guard Jordan Sibert, an Ohio State transfer, led the Flyers with 18 points, including four three-pointers. Senior Devin Oliver scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while freshman Kendall Pollard added a career-high 12 points and center Matt Kavanaugh scored 10.

Pollard, who averaged just two points per game during the season, had scored just two points in 23 minutes thus far in the NCAA tournament. In all, 12 players logged minutes for the Flyers and 11 of them scored.

Dayton had 34 bench points. Stanford had two.

The Flyers were extremely efficient on offense in the first half, dishing out 13 assists on its 15 made field goals to jump out to a 42-32 halftime lead. Stanford allowed 55 points per game in its tournament wins over New Mexico and Kansas. The Flyers reached the 55-point mark with 13:12 remaining in the second half.

Despite the stellar offensive play from Dayton, Stanford used tough low post play from Stefan Nastic (15 points) and Dwight Powell (17 points) to close the gap. The lead was cut to four points twice early in the second half but a Pollard layup and a Sibert three quickly extended the lead back to nine.

When Nastic picked up his fourth foul at the 13:24 mark, Dayton’s lead extended, but Powell and Chasson Randle (21 points) allowed the Cardinal to claw back and cut it to a six-point game at the 8:10 mark. Dayton followed that up with a 7-2 run and cruised the rest of the way.

After knocking off Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford, whether it's Florida or UCLA, the Flyers will face its toughest task yet in the Elite Eight. Depth and unselfish play have gotten the Flyers this far, but they'll have to take it to a whole new level to make it to the Final Four in North Texas.

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