BSU loses heartbreaker
DAYTON, Ohio — Trailing most of the game, Dayton squeezed every last little bit out of its home-court advantage to get an NCAA Tournament win.
Kendall Pollard scored 17 points on Wednesday night, and Dayton — cheered on by the deafening home crowd — went on a closing run for a 56-55 win over Boise State in the First Four.
The Flyers (26-8) will play sixth-seeded Providence on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. And they recognized that their 80-mile trip to the middle of the state had a lot to do with the place they were leaving.
"They were electrifying," senior guard Jordan Sibert said of the crowd. "I don't think we would have won that game without them."
It was the first time since 1987 that a school has played an NCAA Tournament game on its home court, an anomaly resulting from Dayton hosting the opening games.
The Flyers went 16-0 at home during the regular season and have won 22 straight at UD Arena, seventh-longest active streak in Division I.
They needed a big finish to keep it going.
The Flyers trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half and by seven with 3:43 to go. Encouraged by the crowd of 12,592 — the largest for a First Four game — Dayton closed with a 10-2 run.
"It's a great feeling to be in the tournament still," Sibert said.
Derrick Marks' leaning 3-pointer at the buzzer was far off the mark, finishing it off. Marks had 23 points on 10-of-21 shooting.
The Broncos had already snapped San Diego State's 29-game home-court streak this season, and came up just short of another big road win. The Broncos missed seven of their last eight shots.
"They hit a few shots down the stretch that were back-breakers," Boise State coach Leon Rice said.
Sibert's two free throws tied it at 53-53 with 1:02 left, and his long 3-pointer gave the Flyers a 56-55 lead with 34 seconds to go.
After Montigo Alford missed a driving bank shot, Pollard got the rebound, was fouled and missed both free throws with 14 seconds left, giving the Broncos a final shot. Marks leaned into Kyle Davis to draw contact on the final attempt, which missed everything.
"I made a move and I missed the shot," he said. "The ref didn't call it."
Marks, the Mountain West Player of the Year, was coming off one of his worst shooting games during a 71-66 overtime loss to Wyoming in the conference tournament. He kept the Broncos ahead most of the way.
Marks had a 3-pointer and a pair of driving layups during a 14-0 run that put Boise State ahead 29-17 late in the first half. With Sibert on the bench with three fouls, the Flyers couldn't generate points.
The senior guard returned for the second half, and Dayton made seven of its first eight shots to take the lead. Scoochie Smith's back-to-back 3s put the Flyers up 37-34.
The Broncos responded with a 13-1 run led by Marks. Also, Sibert picked up his fourth foul during the spurt, allowing Boise State to stay ahead until the end.
ROBERT MORRIS 81, NORTH FLORIDA 77: At Dayton, Ohio, Lucky Jones scored 21 points, including a key free throw, Rodney Pryor had 20 and Marcquise Reed 19 to lead Robert Morris back from a 14-point second-half deficit to beat North Florida in the First Four.
The Colonials (20-14), who won the Northeast Conference Tournament to get into the field as a 16 seed, now meet top-seeded Duke in the second round on Friday in Charlotte.
As the final seconds ticked off, jubilant fans chanted, "We want Duke! We want Duke!"
Elijah Minnie added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Colonials, who scored 21 points off North Florida's 19 turnovers.
Beau Beech finished with 28 points for the Ospreys (23-12), champs of the Atlantic Sun Tournament.