NCAA Tournament, Friday 12:15 Recap
Syracuse Orange 70, Dayton Flyers 51
Entering the game as just a one point favorite, most thought Dayton ran a high risk of an upset. What most did not see coming, however, was a blowout. Despite losing 5 of their last 6 games, the Syracuse Orange still possessed a ton of talent. Today against the Flyers, they finally put all that talent to use and really started clicking.
Freshman Malachi Richardson had himself a breakout game for Syracuse. He led the way with a game high 21 points and hit some big time shots. Despite his contribution, the game was very close at halftime. Dayton led for about the first 10 minutes before Syracuse went on a run to secure a 30-28 lead at the break. Expecting a battle in the 2nd half, the rest of the Orange stepped up their game. Five Syracuse players finished in double digit scoring. They not only shot the ball much better than Dayton, the Orange also dominated the boards. Junior forward Tyler Roberson led the way with 18 rebounds. As a team Syracuse outrebounded the Flyers by 26. These numbers carried the Syracuse Orange to a dominating win over the Dayton Flyers 70-51.
Dayton just did not play like themselves today. After a hot start to the season, the Flyers seemed to finish it in a slump. Despite the less than stellar finish, most Dayton fans thought they still had what it took to make another magical tournament run. Unfortunately, these March dreams did not transpire. The Flyers shot just 32% from the field and 27% from three in the loss to Syracuse. Dayton missed 14 layups/dunks today. Convert those like they usually do, and the Flyers might have been looking at a much different result. Juniors Charles Cooke and Scoochie Smith tried to keep Dayton in the game, scoring 14 and 12 points respectively. This game marked Dayton’s third straight NCAA tournament appearance, unfortunately for the Flyers, it also marked their first round of 64 exit.
With the win, Syracuse moves on to the round of 32. They will face the winner of Michigan State vs. Middle Tennessee State for the chance to advance to the Sweet 16. Dayton’s season came to a heart breaking end today. Regardless of the loss, the Flyers still have a very bright future. Dayton will return all but Dyshawn Pierre and Bobby Wherli to next year’s team. If all goes as planned, the Flyers will be right back in the tournament next year. Scoochie Smith, Kendall Pollard, and Kyle Davis can become Dayton’s winningest class in history if the Flyers have themselves another 20 plus win season. As A-10 fans, lets hope Dayton has another successful year and gets back to making magic out of March.