MEMPHIS, Tenn.: Jordan Sibert scored 18 points, Kendall Pollard added a season-high 12 and Dayton rolled past Stanford 82-72 on Thursday to make the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight for the first time since 1984.
No. 11 Dayton (26-10) continued its underdog run and this one wasn’t particularly close. 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 12 players in the first half to slowly wear Stanford down.
No. 10 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 will play the winner of UCLA-Florida on Saturday in the South Regional final.
Sibert finished 7-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range. He had plenty of help. Devin Oliver scored 12 points and Matt Kavanaugh added 10.
Dayton made just about everything it threw at the basket early. Scoochie Smith’s corner 3-pointer put the Flyers ahead 15-13 early and Stanford’s Dwight Powell — who averages nearly 14 points per game — was quickly banished to the bench with two fouls.
Foul trouble was a common early theme, and a much bigger problem for Stanford than Dayton.
The Cardinal rely on a six-man rotation while Dayton regularly plays 11 or 12. 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 coach Johnny Dawkins was called for a technical foul.
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 pulled within 64-58 after Powell made the bucket and free throw after being fouled, but the Cardinal couldn’t get any closer. The Flyers kept sending waves at the Cardinal, scoring from inside and out in the final minutes.
Both teams made impressive runs to make it to this point. Dayton had knocked off in-state rival Ohio State and Syracuse while Stanford dispatched higher seeds New Mexico and Kansas.