Well that was fairly entertaining. After a first half in which Dayton looked completely disinterested, and one that saw UD’s leading scorer Jordan Sibert pick up three fouls, the Flyers looked dead in the water. Down 29-20 at the half, it appeared that Archie Miller would have to find a way to cut into that lead immediately, before the first TV timeout of the second frame, or Gem City would be headed out of the tournament (before really being in it).
The first break came at 15:41 and the Flyers were down just three, 34-31. Back to back Scoochie Smith threes immediately after the stop in play put UD in front, 37-34. Then, Dayton went ice cold — failing to score on seven straight possessions — and Boise jumped back ahead, 45-37.
The Flyers never looked like they would get within striking distance again. The two teams traded baskets and before we knew it there were just four minutes left to play, Broncos up seven.
Then, UD’s offense woke up and Kyle Davis became a thorn in Boise’s leading scorer Derrick Marks’ side. Consecutive layups by Pollard and Pierre closed the gap to three with 2:22 on the clock. Boise subsequently missed a layup but it was rebounded, shot clock reset, and kicked back out to drain more clock.
Kyle Davis managed to tip the ball away from Marks, it was scooped off the floor by Smith and it eventually landed in the hands of Pollard, who was fouled on the other end. KP converted just one of two and Dayton trimmed the margin to just two with 84 ticks on the clock left. The next possession was more of the same for Davis. Boise got the ball on the edge of the lane to Marks, who was completely locked up by the sophomore guard. Marks sent an erratic pass across the floor and it was picked off by Sibert, who was fouled immediately. Two freebies by Sibert and the game was all tied, one minute to go.
Scoochie Smith got whistled for a foul and Montigo Alford, a 58% foul-shooter on the season, nailed both (in front of a very red and very LOWD crowd) to put the Broncs back on top by two.
Jordan Sibert, as cool as you’d like. The senior guard was evidently not done adding to his legacy, knocking down a hellaciously huge three-pointer that would turn out to be the game winner.
Sibert’s UD career evolves accordingly: His first game ended in a buzzer-beating three against IPFW and his deep three against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament last season is already the stuff of legend. With tonight’s answered prayer, he lays claim to some of the most memorable shots in the program’s history. There’s really not much more he can realistically do to improve his stature among the Faithful, his name forever etched in Flyer lore.
There was, of course, a questionable call at the very end of the game — as Kyle Davis may or may not have bumped Marks on his last-second attempt from twenty-three feet. Certain basketball writers will argue it was a foul, because this is what they do, while others will realize a ref doesn’t make that call and expect to leave with his spinal column accounted for. We will not mention Kendall Pollard missing both free-throws prior to Boise’s final possession…which probably would have changed the way UD played D had he converted both.
Absolutely no one should blame UD for the outcome — Boise led by nine with six and a half minutes to go and they simply couldn’t close UD out (Doug Gottlieb, for example, apparently thought the venue was equitable until the last twenty second of the contest). Additionally, Dayton was slotted to play at home by the selection committee, who really had no justification for assigning the Flyers to the play-in game in the first place (You can argue that the committee got exactly what it wanted, a Dayton win, at UD Arena, which ended on a controversial no-call. The calls for moving the First Four will now be amplified, which won’t exactly upset the powers that be). Regardless, fuck all those people, it won’t mean a thing come Friday night when your Flyers face off against Providence.
This game had absolutely everything: a guy trying to dunk from the foul-line, pants falling off, a clutch three to win it and even a missed shot at the buzzer. The season continues and we can all rest easy — Dayton will play in the NCAA Tournament proper. I know when I speak for everyone when I say that nobody would have been satisfied if the Flyers bowed out tonight, it would have been a completely hollow way to end the season, regardless of what occurred over the past five months.
The Decibel Dungeon, and I can say this with utmost confidence this time, is officially closed for business this year. She saw 17 wins, none more exciting or important than the one tonight. The Flyers march on.