MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Stanford had the bigger bodies. The Cardinal just didn’t have enough of them.
The No. 11 seed Dayton Flyers used their pressing and fast-paced offense to blow past No. 10 Stanford on Thursday, beating the Cardinal 82-72 to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984.
Stanford fought foul trouble and couldn’t keep pace with Dayton’s relentless waves of players. The Flyers used a dozen in the first half alone, jumped out to a 42-32 lead by halftime, and the Cardinal couldn’t get closer than 64-58 midway through the second half.
“They were relentless,” Stanford Coach Johnny Dawkins said. “That’s the best way I can put it.”
Stanford (23-13) had the superior post play, but it wasn’t enough. Chasson Randle led the Cardinal with 21 points, but shot five of 21 from the field. Dwight Powell added 17 and Stefan Nastic — who fouled out with more than five minutes left — had 15.
The 6-foot-11 Nastic’s departure hurt badly. Stanford was running most of its offense through him in the second half.
Once he was gone, Dayton cruised to the win.
“We had 11 guys score in the game and from top to bottom, we kept coming and coming,” Dayton Coach Archie Miller said. “The way they shared the ball and moved the ball … it was a true team effort. It’s nice that on the biggest stage, we acted like ourselves.”
Jordan Sibert scored 18 points and freshman Kendall Pollard added a season-high 12, as Dayton (26-10) made sure this one wasn’t particularly close after slipping by in the first two rounds. The 6-foot-4 Sibert was spectacular, slashing to the basket and draining three-pointers, to help the Flyers lead for almost the entire night.
“From the very beginning, they were on us,” Nastic said. “They were the more aggressive team. They threw a lot of stuff on us and we just weren’t able to handle it.”
Dayton, the last remaining of the six Atlantic 10 teams in the field of 68, plays the winner of UCLA-Florida on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four.
Sibert finished seven of 12 from the field, including four of nine from three-point range. He had plenty of help, including from Pollard, a 6-foot-6 guard who continually got to the basket and helped the Flyers stretch their lead in the first half.
Pollard was averaging two points a game, but Miller didn’t hesitate to give him big minutes once he got hot.
“This guy’s a big-time winner,” Miller said. “He’s not afraid of anything.”
The Flyers were good in just about every facet, shooting 48.3% (28 of 58) and dishing 19 assists on 28 field goals.
They made just about everything they threw at the basket early. Scoochie Smith’s corner three-pointer put the Flyers ahead 15-13 early and Stanford’s Powell — who averages nearly 14 points per game — was soon banished to the bench with two fouls.
Foul trouble was an early theme and a much bigger problem for Stanford.
The Cardinal relies on a six-man rotation. 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 Dawkins was called for a technical foul. Dawkins said it was the right call.
“I was just more or less trying to get my team going,” Dawkins said. “I thought we were losing momentum, we had already burned a timeout and it was a situation where I wanted to get our guys fired up.”
It didn’t work.
Sibert hit a three-pointer from the corner to give Dayton a 42-29 lead, though the Flyers had to settle for a 42-32 halftime advantage.
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 a 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.