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Flyers reaching new height again

Dayton’s Matt Kavanaugh, left, and Kendall Pollard (22) enjoy their team’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1984.

Associated Press

Dayton’s Matt Kavanaugh, left, and Kendall Pollard (22) enjoy their team’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1984.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dayton coach Archie Miller almost didn't want to look.

Syracuse freshman point guard Tyler Ennis was open at the top of the key with 2 seconds left and Miller's Flyers leading by two. When Ennis' shot clanged off the rim, Dayton had a victory it had chased for three decades.

"We have a good program with great tradition," Miller said Saturday after Dayton beat Syracuse 55-53 in the NCAA Tournament's South Region to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years. "Now we have the ability to build, and that's what it's all about."

Ennis had beaten Pittsburgh last month with a 40-foot shot at the buzzer, so he had the confidence to try it though Syracuse had missed all nine of its 3-point attempts Saturday. It was the first time in 665 games Syracuse had failed to make a 3.

"The last shot was a great shot. It was the right play," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. "A chance to win the game. You don't have enough time to get to the basket. I have no problem with that shot."

Neither did Miller.

"That thing was on line, and he went for the win," Miller said. "The thing that went through my head was the game at Pitt, when I saw that highlight 7,000 times when he banged the 3."

Dayton (25-10), the 11th seed, faces the winner of today's Kansas-Stanford game in the region semifinals Thursday in Memphis. The third-seeded Orange (28-6) skidded to a 3-6 finish after a 25-0 start.

"It's hard to digest any loss," said Ennis, who scored 19. "They did a good job defensively, and the looks we did get, we didn't capitalize."

Dyshawn Pierre had 14 points for Dayton and Jordan Sibert hit a key 3 with 47.7 seconds left.

Flyers reaching new height again 03/22/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 23, 2014 12:28am]

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