There always has to be one team that defies belief, and the Dayton Flyers are the ones doing it this year, carrying on their improbable march towards the Elite Eight with a 82-72 win over Stanford, showing once more just how valuable it is to have no stars but simply 12 players who do what they’re told and can contribute at any given time.
One of the interesting numbers to stand out from the horde of statistics coming out of each game was the bench production. Dayton’s bench outscored Stanford’s, a team that usually uses only a six man rotation, 34-2, which is the second biggest difference between bench units in a tournament this season. Kendall Pollard was the one who shined for Dayton the most coming off the bench, scoring 12 points.
The Starting lineup, when playing all five starters together, were actually outscored by Stanford in the minutes they were on the floor. But Archie Miller pretty quickly got to his many changes, and Stanford simply couldn’t keep up with the pace, the transition game and the smart passing from Dayton players, finishing with an impressive 19 assists on their 28 field goals.
We had 11 guys score in the game and from top to bottom, we kept coming and coming. 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.
Dayton outscored Stanford by 15 points in transition, something that’s been a recurring theme in their tournament run this season. They did the same thing against Ohio State and Syracuse, only this time the difference was much bigger, and Stanford don’t have the talent to keep up with a team that’s outplaying them from tip off to final buzzer. When any other lineup combination other than the starting five was on the floor, Dayton held Stanford to 60 fewer points per 100 possessions and outscored the Cardinal by 15 points.
Jordan Sibert led the team with 18 points, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Devin Oliver scored 12 points to go with 7 rebounds, and Dayton overall shot 48.3% from the field, which was much better than the product Stanford put on the floor.
No points in transition, there was no way of winning this game with what Stanford have on half court offense alone. Chasson Randle did lead the way with 21 points, but he was an awful 5-of-21 from the field, unable to get good shots most of the time, and unwilling to share the ball with others, as three other teammates, all in the starting lineup, finishing in double figures.
Dayton aren’t the only remaining double digit seed left; Tennessee might beat Michigan, but that won’t be too much of a shock; only some seeding error that made the Vols drop so low. The Flyers are this year’s true feel-good story, and there’s nothing about their game suggesting they’re going to be an easy meal for Florida.
People have been doubting us and not giving us a lot of credit. 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.