Dayton marches on

Mar. 28, 2014 @ 01:30 AM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — 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.

Arizona holds off San Diego State

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 beat San Diego State 70-64 Thursday night and advance to the final eight of the NCAA tournament.

Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 15 points each for the top-seeded Wildcats (33-4). They next play Wisconsin in the West Regional final Saturday.

Xavier Thames scored 25 points and Dwayne Polee added 13 points for the Aztecs (31-5). Those two tried to bail out SDSU in the final minute, each hitting 3-pointers before Thames' basket cut the deficit to 65-61 with 38 seconds left.

The drama wasn't over yet in a game featuring tenacious defense and rabid intensity by both teams.

SDSU got called for a 10-second violation, and the Wildcats regained the ball. Johnson got fouled and made both for a 67-61 lead with 26 seconds to go. Thames got fouled on a 3-point attempt, and he sank all three shots to leave SDSU trailing 67-64.

The Aztecs had Johnson trapped near their bench, but he passed out of the double team and Gabe York got fouled at the other end. He missed the first and made the second, keeping Arizona ahead 68-64. Thames missed, and Johnson went to the line again where he ended the scoring with two free throws.

Hollis-Jefferson fouled out with 4:42 to play, but Johnson made his first basket a couple minutes later and carried the Wildcats across the finish line after they trailed much of the second half.

Gators win their 29th straight, down UCLA 79-68

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Florida Gators are back where their last three seasons have ended with yet another chance to go to the Final Four.

Michael Frazier II hit five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points as the Gators beat UCLA 79-68 Thursday night to reach 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.

"From a team aspect, I think we've done a great job of just staying in the moment and just trying to chase greatness," Frazier said. "When you do that, complacency isn't a factor so I think we've done a great job all year of just staying in the moment and chasing greatness."

The tournament's overall top seed will play 11th-seeded Dayton on Saturday night for a trip to the Final Four. Dayton beat Stanford 82-72 earlier Thursday night.

"Right now we got to put this game behind us and get focused on Dayton," Florida senior Scottie Wilbekin said. "They're a great team. Everybody is at this point in the season, and so we got to be locked in and ready because it's going to be a battle."

Wilbekin added 13 points for Florida. Casey Prather had 12 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith had 10. Kasey Hill had 10 assists. The Gators have not lost since Dec. 2.

Wisconsin routs Baylor 69-52 to reach West final

ANAHEIM, Calif.  — Ben Brust and his Wisconsin teammates got oodles of open shots while they sliced and diced Baylor's vaunted zone defense. When the Bears had the ball, 7-foot Frank Kaminsky always seemed to be right in their way.

Brust, Kaminsky and their Badgers realize they dominated Baylor in a 69-52 victory Thursday night because of a coach who always puts them in the right spots.

Bo Ryan has never been to college basketball's final weekend, but the Badgers are thrilled to put him on the brink.

"That would be a very special thing to do, but we also know that he's not going to let us look too far ahead," said Brust, who scored 14 points. "When that time comes, we'll handle it. I'd definitely like to do that for him."

Kaminsky scored 19 points and blocked six shots while Wisconsin romped into the West Regional final, reaching the final eight for the third time in school history.

Brust hit three of the six 3-pointers from 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).

Kaminsky and his disciplined teammates shredded the Baylor zone 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 Ryan, who has seen just about everything except the Final Four in a 700-win coaching career.