Flyers soar to Elite Eight

DAVID BRANDT AP Sports Writer Published:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Like a red and blue blur, the Dayton Flyers were pressing and passing, shooting and scoring. The waves never seemed to stop coming, with 10, 11 and then 12 players giving them quality minutes.

An exhausted and foul-plagued Stanford simply couldn't keep up.

The underdog Flyers -- the No. 11 seed in the South Region -- are now in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984 after an emphatic 82-72 victory Thursday 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."

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. The 6-foot-4 Sibert was spectacular, slashing to the basket and draining 3-pointers, to help the Flyers lead for almost the entire night.

Dayton showed its depth early, using a dozen players in the first half to wear down Stanford.

"They were relentless," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said. "That's the best way I can put it."

No. 10 seed Stanford (23-13) had the superior post play, but it wasn't enough. Chasson Randle led the Cardinal with 21 points, but shot 5 of 21 from the field. Dwight Powell added 17 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, will play top overall seed Florida on Saturday. The Gators beat UCLA 79-68 late Thursday night.

It was a good night for the Millers. Archie joined his brother in the Elite Eight after Sean Miller coached Arizona to a 70-64 victory over San Diego State.

Sibert finished 7 of 12 from the field, including 4 of 9 from 3-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 per 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.

The Flyers were good in just about every facet, shooting 48.3 percent (28 of 58) and dishing 19 assists on 28 field goals.

They made just about everything they threw at the basket early. Scoochie Smith's corner 3-pointer put the Flyers ahead 15-13 early and Stanford's Powell -- who averages nearly 14 points per game -- was quickly banished to the bench with two fouls.

Foul trouble was an early theme, and a much bigger problem for Stanford.

The Cardinal rely on a six-man rotation. When the Flyers would lose a man to foul trouble, they simply replaced him with someone who was just as capable.

Things went from bad to worse for Stanford late in the first half. The Cardinal fell behind by double-digits and Dawkins was called for a technical foul. Dawkins said it was the right call.

"I was just more or less trying to get my team going," Dawkins said. "I thought we were losing momentum, we had already burned a timeout and it was a situation where I wanted to get our guys fired up."

It didn't work.

Sibert nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to give Dayton a 42-29 lead, though the Flyers had to settle for a 42-32 halftime advantage.

Stanford made a comeback early in the second half -- as famous Cardinal supporters Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice looked on -- thanks to strong post play.

But the Cardinal simply couldn't stay out of foul trouble. Nastic -- who was leading Stanford with 13 points at the time -- picked up his fourth foul with more than 13 minutes remaining and fouled out with more than five minutes left.

Stanford managed to pull within 64-58 after Powell made the bucket and free throw after being fouled, but the Cardinal couldn't get any closer. The Flyers simply kept sending waves at the Cardinal, scoring from inside and out in the final minutes.

Both teams had made impressive runs to make it to this point. Dayton had knocked off in-state rival Ohio State and Syracuse while Stanford has dispatched higher-seeds New Mexico and Kansas.

FLORIDA 79, UCLA 68

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Michael Frazier II hit five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points as Florida reached its fourth consecutive NCAA regional final.

The Gators (35-2) also extended the best winning streak in school history to 29 straight in reaching the South Regional final.

Scottie Wilbekin added 13 points for Florida, which is back where the last three Gators seasons ended. Casey Prather had 12 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith had 10. Kasey Hill had 10 assists.

UCLA (28-9) was back in a regional semifinal for the first time since 2008 under first-year coach Steve Alford.

Jordan Adams led the Bruins with 17 points, Kyle Anderson had 11 and five assists with nine rebounds. Travis Wear added 14.

WEST REGION

WISCONSIN 69, BAYLOR 52

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Frank Kaminsky scored 19 points and blocked six shots, and Wisconsin romped.

Ben Brust hit three 3-pointers and scored 14 points for the second-seeded Badgers (29-7), who jumped to a 14-point lead in the first half and never let up on the overmatched Bears (26-12).

The 7-foot Kaminsky and his disciplined teammates shredded the Baylor zone defense that played so well in the first two games. Wisconsin also methodically shut down Baylor's talented offense while moving into its second regional final in 13 years under Bo Ryan, who has never reached a Final Four in a 700-win coaching career.

Cory Jefferson scored 15 points for the sixth-seeded Bears, who did little with their third Sweet 16 trip in five years.

Isaiah Austin and Kenny Chery scored 12 points apiece for Baylor, which made two of its 15 3-point attempts while trailing for the final 39 minutes. The Bears needed a late rally just to match their lowest-scoring performance of the season in the final seconds.

Wisconsin advanced to face top-seeded Arizona in the regional final Saturday at Honda Center.

ARIZONA 70, SAN DIEGO STATE 64

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Nick Johnson scored all of his 15 points in the last 2:45, after missing his first 10 shots, and Arizona rallied to advance to the final eight.

Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 15 points each for the top-seeded Wildcats (33-4).

Xavier Thames scored 25 points and Dwayne Polee added 13 points for the Aztecs (31-5).

Arizona coach Sean Miller joined his brother Archie in the final eight. The younger Miller coached Dayton to an 82-72 victory over Stanford of the Pac-12 in the South Regional semifinals.

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