Pierre nets 20 as 11th-seeded Dayton upsets 6-seed Providence
Dayton never gets tired — of winning.
Dyshawn Pierre scored 20 points and the Flyers rode a loud home-state advantage to another NCAA tournament victory, beating Providence 66-53 Friday night.
The 11th-seeded Flyers (27-8) will face Oklahoma on Sunday night in the East Region, with a chance to reach the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.
Sixth-seeded Providence (22-12) could not overcome early foul trouble on Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn or a Dayton team buoyed by a legion of fans that made the 80-mile trip to Columbus.
"It was powerful," Dayton coach Archie Miller said of the support. "Our fans continue to be on front and center stage right now. In Columbus, I had a hunch it was going to be like this."
Dunn finished with 11 points before fouling out for Providence. LaDontae Henton, the Big East’s leading scorer, had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Dayton was playing its fifth game in eight days after reaching the final of the Atlantic 10 tournament on Sunday in New York, then winning a First Four game against Boise State on its home court Wednesday.
"We feel fine. We have a great opportunity in front of us now. We’re not focusing on the games we played. We’re focusing on the game we got left," said Pierre, who also had nine rebounds.
Jordan Sibert, who made the key late 3 that helped Dayton rally to beat Boise, scored 15 points.
The Flyers have been the busiest team in the country lately, so they might not have minded the 10:53 ET tip-off. Anything to get a little extra rest. Though both teams played as if it was past their bedtimes in the first 11 minutes. With nine minutes left in the first half, Dayton was up 9-5.
It didn’t help Providence that Dunn picked up two fouls in the first five minutes and took a seat for a while.
Things picked up in the final eight minutes, with Henton and Sibert trading late 3’s to send Dayton to the break with a 28-25 lead.
Dayton stretched its lead to 44-35 with 10:21 left when Kyle Davis and Pierre hit back-to-back 3s. Providence chipped away, but Sibert responded with another 3 to make it 47-41 with 6:08 left.
Flyers fan decked out in red packed Nationwide Arena and had "Let’s Go Flyers!" ringing through the rafters.
"It was like a home game. We had a great crowd again — and we needed it," Sibert said. "When we had a run or made a stop, we heard it."
Providence coach Ed Cooley said on Thursday he didn’t mind playing a virtual road game, and that’s what he got. Providence shot seven free throws. Dayton shot 30.
"It was a neutral site," Cooley said, trying to avoid making any excuse for his team’s sloppy play. "It was neutral."
The place rocked when Pierre swished another 3 with 4:28 left to make it 50-42. It is doubtful Ohio State would have had any more of an advantage in Columbus.
Then Cooley got hit with a technical during a timeout, after his chair fell over. Providence assistants pleaded with officials that it was a harmless accident, but they couldn’t talk Cooley out of the T.
Cooley said he was trying to fire up his team and he didn’t even notice the chair hit the hardwood.
"But I’m just trying to coach my team. That’s what that was about," he said. "That to me was wrong."
Officials declined to speak directly to a pool reporter but through Northeastern athletic director Peter Roby, who was acting as a spokesman, they said Cooley threw the chair out of the huddle and it precipitated a call for unsportsmanlike conduct. NCAA coordinator of officials John Adams released a statement supporting the call and citing, Rule 10, Section 3, Article 2 on bench personnel committing unsportsmanlike acts.
Pierre put it away with 1:59 left, spinning free inside, getting fouled and letting out a scream before completing the three-point play to make it 56-42.
Coach Archie Miller, the brother of Arizona coach Sean Miller, led the Flyers to the Elite Eight last year and is now 5-1 in NCAA tournament games — all as an 11 seed. … Henton said Providence’s rough starts had nothing to do with the late tip-off. "Both teams had to suit up at the same time," he said. "Both teams had to wait."
Dayton moves on to face the third-seeded Sooners in what will be its sixth game in 10 days.
Providence is done after its first NCAA tournament game for the second straight season.