The No. 11 Dayton Flyers, considered a bubble team that some thought should not even be in the tournament, shocked No. 3 Syracuse on Saturday night in a South Regional Round of 32 battle in Buffalo when Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis missed a potential game-winning three-point attempt as time expired.
The Flyers won 55-53, but they almost threw the see-saw game away with turnovers, missed free throws and miscues down the stretch. Dayton made enough free throws in the closing seconds to hold off the Orange.
Dayton, coached by Archie Miller, who is the little brother of Arizona head coach Sean Miller, already had knocked off No. 6 Ohio State on Thursday before beating Syracuse to make the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1984.
The Flyers made clutch three-pointers and used crisp passing to navigate through Syracuse’s complex 2-3 matchup zone that has stymied many opponents unfamiliar with the scheme. But the Flyers were well coached and broke down Syracuse’s defense on many key moments in the game.
Dyshawn Pierre led Dayton with 14 points and Jordan Sibert nailed a three pointer in the final minute to elicit a patented “onions” call from color commentator Bill Raftery.
With the loss, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim became the first coach to lose six times to a double-digit seed in the the NCAA tournament.
Dayton will face the winner of No. 10 Stanford and No. 2 Kansas in a Sweet 16 batte.