#10 Syracuse Orange: 70 #7 Dayton Flyers: 51
The 7 seed Dayton Flyers headed to St. Louis, Missouri to take on the 10 seed Syracuse Orange in the First Round of the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. This was a rematch of the 2014 round of 32 game that sent the Flyers to the Sweet 16. The Flyers looked like they were trying to make a statement early in the game as it seemed very easy for them to score. They took a 14-8 lead over the Orange 8 minutes into the game. Syracuse was struggling to make anything work and were missing contested shots left and right. The Flyers, on the other hand, were missing open shots, most of them being bunnies. The teams traded buckets for a while but Syracuse was able to take a lead with a little over 4 minutes to go into the half. The Flyers brought it back but ended up trailing 30-28 at halftime. Syracuse came out of the locker room on fire. They would go on a 26-5 run over the first 13 minutes of the second half to take a 56-33 lead. Ballgame. The Flyers seemed very uninterested during the second half and that did not help them. Dayton was able to cut the lead to 14 with 2:22 but it was too little too late.
The X-Factor in this game would have to be freshman guard Malachi Richardson from Syracuse. He was a very big part of Syracuse’s success in both halves. He had 21 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 36 minutes. He seemed to always get open and hit a few big shots to get the run in the second half going for the Orange.
Why Syracuse Won this Game
Syracuse won this game with great defense and rebounding. The Orange have always played a 2-3 zone and teams know this but still really struggle to play against it. The Flyers seemed very scared to attack the zone to be honest. There were multiple times where they’d have to heave a shot from 30+ feet because they wouldn’t attack the zone. The way to beat the 2-3 zone is to get the ball to the man at the free throw line or on the elbow. The Flyers were really struggling with this and when they did happen to get it into that guy, they weren’t able to do anything with it. The Orange absolutely dominated the boards and that was a huge reason for their success. They were able to grab 16 offensive rebounds which led to 16 second chance points. Syracuse outrebounded Dayton 48-28.
Star of the Game
The star of the game in my book had to be junior forward Tyler Roberson from Syracuse. This guy was an absolute beast on the boards all day. He only averages 8 rebounds on the year but he was able to pull down 18, including 8 offensive boards, today. He also had 10 points and 3 steals and played all but 2 minutes.
Dud of the Game
The dud of the game today was sophomore guard Darrell Davis from Dayton. He went 0-5 from the field and 0-3 from the three point line. He airballed every three that he took. He also seemed very lost on defense a lot. There were multiple times where he was either out of place or just seemed really lazy. He only played 13 minutes but it showed when he was on the court.
Stat of the Day
The stat of the day for this game isn’t something that you normally look at and doesn’t necessarily have a statistical percentage to it. The stat that absolutely blew me away was that Dayton missed 15 dunks/layups in this game. If the Flyers were able to convert on even half of these, it changes the whole dynamic of the game. A lot of the layups were also uncontested. The Flyers just weren’t able to finish today.
Syracuse caught Dayton on an off night and played one of, if not their best games of the season. Sometimes that is just how the cookie crumbles. I give all the credit to the Orange for completely outplaying the Dayton Flyers. Like I said before, the Flyers seemed like they didn’t want to be there at times in the second half. It seemed like their heads just weren’t in it and that really befuddles me. Syracuse wanted this game more, plain and simple, and it really showed during the game. Syracuse advances to play Sunday at 6:10PM. The 15 seed Middle Tennessee State upset the 2 seed Michigan State earlier today so Syracuse will take on Middle Tennessee State.
Alex Handorf ’17