MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Like a red and blue blur, Dayton was pressing and passing, shooting and scoring. The waves never seemed to stop coming, with 10, 11 and then 12 players providing quality minutes.
An exhausted and foul-hampered Stanford couldn’t keep up.
The underdog Flyers — an 11th seed in the NCAA tournament’s South Regional — are now in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984 after an emphatic 82-72 victory over Stanford last night.
“We had 11 guys score in the game and from top to bottom, we kept coming and coming,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “The way they shared the ball and moved the ball … it was a true team effort. It’s nice that on the biggest stage, we acted like ourselves.”
Former Ohio State player Jordan Sibert scored 18 points and freshman Kendall Pollard added a season-high 12 as Dayton (26-10) made sure this one wasn’t particularly close after slipping by in the first two rounds. Sibert was spectacular, slashing to the basket and draining three-pointers to help the Flyers lead for almost the entire game
Dayton showed its depth early, using a dozen players in the first half to wear down Stanford.
“They were relentless,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “That’s the best way I can put it.”
Stanford (23-13), seeded 10th, had the superior post play, but it wasn’t enough. Chasson Randle led the Cardinal with 21 points, but shot 5 for 21 from the field. Dwight Powell added 17 points and Stefan Nastic — who fouled out with more than five minutes left — had 15.
Dayton, the last remaining of the six Atlantic 10 teams in the field of 68, plays the winner of UCLA-Florida on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four.
Sibert finished 7 for 12 from the field, including 4 for 9 from three-point range. He had plenty of help, including from Pollard, a 6-foot-6 guard who continually got to the basket and helped the Flyers stretch their lead in the first half.
“People have been doubting us and not giving us a lot of credit,” Sibert said. “I know these guys. I know what Coach wants.
“We all want to win. At the end of the day, we all want to be considered winners.”
Pollard was averaging two points a game, but Miller didn’t hesitate to give him big minutes once he got hot.
“This guy’s a big-time winner,” Miller said. “He’s not afraid of anything.”
Devin Oliver scored 12 points and Matt Kavanaugh added 10. Dayton’s bench had a 34-2 scoring advantage over Stanford’s.
Foul trouble was an early theme, and a much bigger problem for Stanford.
The Cardinal relies on a six-man rotation. When the Flyers lost a man to foul trouble, they replaced him with someone who was just as capable.
Things went from bad to worse for Stanford late in the first half. The Cardinal trailed by double digits and Dawkins was called for a technical foul. He said it was the right call.
“I was just more or less trying to get my team going,” Dawkins said.
It didn’t work.
Sibert nailed a three-pointer from the corner to give Dayton a 42-29 lead, though the Flyers had to settle for a 42-32 halftime advantage.