Cinderella came back down to earth Saturday night as the Dayton Flyers lost to the Florida Gators in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite 8.
A 62-52 loss ended one of the best stories of the tournament so far. A little team from the A10 took down Ohio State, Syracuse, and Stanford before losing to juggernaut Florida.
Saturday night in Memphis saw the Flyers hang close with the Gators at first. Dayton kept the score close, within four points at all times, then tying the game late in the first half. That was until the Gators went on a 10-0 run opening up the lead to 14 at the half at 38-24. Florida’s run at the end of the half all but sealed the deal for the Flyers.
Florida was just too big for Dayton. The different styles in play is what separated the two teams Saturday. Florida’s size allows them to be more physical, the charge the paint, force layups and rebound better than Dayton. Florida had 37 rebounds to Dayton’s 26, that helped Florida coast to the Final Four.
The second half saw Dayton try to play their style of basketball. Their style involves shooting a lot of threes and shots from the field, their overall size didn’t allow for them to charge the floor like Florida. Dayton was able to make up four points in the second half but they were never able to drawn within eight points.
Dayton had one hell of a tournament. Once the other three Ohio teams exited the tournament the entire state got behind the Flyers. Their student body exemplified what it means to celebrate a surprise tournament run. They beat Ohio State, the “little brother” punched the bully in the mouth and walked away with a knockout at the bell. Everything about the Dayton performance was perfect, minus their loss to Florida.
Thank you Dayton for allowing us to live vicariously through you after our schools exited.