NCAA News Wire

Dayton dances past Syracuse, into Sweet 16

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Junior guard Jordan Sibert’s 3-pointer with 49 seconds left put Dayton up by six and the 11th-seeded Flyers held on to stun third-seeded Syracuse 55-53 in an NCAA South Regional third-round game on Saturday night at the First Niagara Center.

Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis missed a 3-pointer just before the final buzzer and Dayton celebrated.

“I thought it was a really good shot,” said Ennis, who scored Syracuse’s final 11 points. “I didn’t think I had time to drive. Even when it bounced off the rim, I thought it was going in. But you can’t hit every shot.”

Forward Dyshawn Pierre scored 14 points and Sibert added 10 for the Flyers (25-10), who will play Kansas or Stanford in a Sweet 16 game next weekend in Memphis, Tenn.

“I’m so really proud of our character,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said.”They really believe in one another. We’re a tough group right now.”

Dayton senior forward Devin Oliver said, “If we’re going to the Sweet 16, nothing’s better.”

Ennis led Syracuse (28-6) with 19 points and forward C.J. Fair added 14.

After a turnover by Ennis, guard Scoochie Smith made a layup with 1:43 left to give Dayton a 49-46 lead. Syracuse sophomore forward Michael Gbinije then missed a 3-pointer from the left wing — his only miss in five attempts — and Sibert followed with his 3-pointer from the right wing.

Ennis converted a three-point play with a layup and free throw at the 41-second mark, cutting the Dayton lead to three. The freshman then hit two free throws to make it 52-51 with 24.8 seconds left, but Pierre sank two free throws two seconds later to make it a three-point game.

Ennis followed with a layup with 16 seconds left, cutting the margin to one. Syracuse had a chance to go ahead after a Sibert turnover with 13.8 seconds left, but Ennis missed a jumper with eight seconds left.

Pierre opened the door by making only the first of two free throws, but Ennis opted to take a 3-pointer down by only two and misfired, giving Dayton its second upset in Buffalo.

The Flyers beat Ohio State in Thursday’s second-round game.

“We had a couple of great shots at the end, but they didn’t go in,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “It was a tough loss, but they all are at this point. Someone gets beat on the last play, and tonight it was us.”

Dayton led 20-18 at the half as both teams struggled to score. Dayton shot 34.8 percent from the field and Syracuse shot 30.4 percent.

Syracuse, the nation’s No. 1-ranked team for much of this season, led for only 15 seconds.

“They’re a smaller team, but they’re scrappy,” Fair said. “They’re quick to the ball and rotations. Every time you put ball the down, they’ve got a hand in there.”

Dayton jumped to an 11-4 lead on a jumper from guard Vee Sanford, quieting the pro-Orange crowd. Syracuse’s campus is about 2 ½ hours from First Niagara Center.

Syracuse chipped away and took its first lead at 17-16 on two free throws from Fair with 2:47 left in the half. Sanford promptly hit a jumper to put Dayton back in front.

Syracuse’s lowest-scoring first half this season was 23 against Georgia Tech. Its lowest-scoring half overall was 21 against Miami.

Syracuse forward Jerami Grant and guard Trevor Cooney combined for 34 points in a win over Western Michigan on Thursday. The two combined six on Saturday.

A layup by Fair put Syracuse ahead 23-22 and got the crowd loudly chanting “Let’s Go Orange!” But Dayton did not flinch, and when sophomore guard Khari Price nailed a 3-poiner with 12:56 remaining, the Flyers’ lead was 32-26.

The Orange rallied and took a 36-35 lead on a Grant steal and layup from sophomore Michael Gbinije, a Duke transfer. Syracuse did not have the lead and the ball until 8:02 remained in the game, and a layup from Ennis gave them their first three-point lead at 40-37.

Undaunted, Dayton overcame the deficit and the crowd and built a five-point lead with 4:35 remaining on back-to-back 3-pointers from Smith and Pierre.

NOTES: Syracuse F Jerami Grant fouled out in the

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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