Dayton shocks Stanford; Wisconsin rolls
Dayton's forward Devin Oliver (5) and Kendall Pollard (22) reacts to play against Stanford during the first half in a regional semifinal game at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Stanford center Stefan Nastic (4) and Dayton forward/center Matt Kavanaugh (35) vie for a loose ball during the first half in a regional semifinal game at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, center watches play between Dayton and Stanford during the first half in a regional semifinal game at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NFL Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman, left, speaks during the first half in a regional semifinal game against Dayton at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Dayton head coach Archie Miller speaks to players against Stanford during the first half in a regional semifinal game at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins reacts to play against Dayton during the first half in a regional semifinal game at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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 plays 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 6-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 managed to pull within 64-58 after Powell made the bucket and free throw after being fouled, but the Cardinal couldn’t get any closer. The Flyers simply kept sending waves at the Cardinal, scoring from inside and out in the final minutes.
Both teams had made impressive runs to make it to this point. Dayton had knocked off in-state rival Ohio State and Syracuse while Stanford has dispatched higher-seeds New Mexico and Kansas.
Wisconsin 69, Baylor 52
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Frank Kaminsky scored 19 points and blocked six shots, and Wisconsin romped into the West Regional final with a dominant 69-52 victory over Baylor on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif.
Ben Brust hit three 3-pointers and scored 14 points for 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).
The 7-foot Kaminsky and his disciplined teammates shredded the Baylor zone defense 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 Bo Ryan, who has never reached a Final Four in a 700-win coaching career.
Cory Jefferson scored 15 points for the sixth-seeded Bears, who did little with their third Sweet 16 trip in five years.
Isaiah Austin and Kenny Chery scored 12 points apiece for Baylor, which made two of its 15 3-point attempts while trailing for the final 39 minutes. The Bears needed a late rally just to match their lowest-scoring performance of the season in the final seconds.
Wisconsin advanced to face the winner of top-seeded Arizona’s meeting with San Diego State in the regional final Saturday at Honda Center.
The Badgers won by countering everything the Bears do well. Wisconsin wrecked Baylor’s zone, negated their 3-point shooting acumen with perimeter defense, kept the tempo at the Badgers’ preferred speed and even held a 39-33 rebounding edge on Baylor, one of the nation’s top rebounding teams.
Kaminsky added another remarkable performance to his junior season with the Badgers, racking up 10 points and four blocked shots while Wisconsin took a 29-16 lead into halftime.
Wisconsin held Baylor to a season-low in first-half points, and the Bears managed just one more point than the lowest-scoring half in coach Scott Drew’s career at the school.
Three lower-bowl sections of the Anaheim Ducks’ home arena were packed with red-clad Badgers fans, who usually turn out in droves for their school’s trips to Southern California, including three straight recent trips to the Rose Bowl. They had little reason to worry while their Badgers quickly sapped all of the drama out of these schools’ first meeting, but they let loose with boos when Baylor began intentionally fouling the Badgers in the final four minutes despite a 20-point deficit.
Wisconsin is in its 16th straight NCAA tournament, including all 13 years under Ryan, who took over the program in 2001. The Badgers haven’t been to the Final Four since retired coach Dick Bennett got them to Indianapolis in 2000.
Baylor won’t get the chance to play in the Final Four in Arlington, Texas, about 100 miles north of its Waco campus.
Baylor’s flexible zone defense caused numerous problems for Nebraska and Creighton in the Bears’ victories last week. With a few days to prepare, Ryan clearly figured out exactly how to attack it — and the Bears had no answers.
The Badgers got multiple open looks on nearly every possession in the first half, moving the ball around the perimeter for open 3-point attempts or getting it down low to Kaminsky, who scored eight of Wisconsin’s first 10 points. Brust hit two 3-pointers in the first half, and only a few open misses prevented Wisconsin from blowing it open early.
On the other end, the Bears had little of the poise they showed in their first two games. Baylor missed 12 of its first 15 shots and finished 5-for-24 in the first half, making just one 3-pointer and falling behind by 14 late in the half.
Baylor finally abandoned the zone early in the second half, but Traevon Jackson hit a 3-pointer for Wisconsin on the next possession. The Bears showed their athleticism and skill with several one-man drives to the hoop in the second half, but the Badgers calmly stuck to their plan in a blowout win.