The game came a few rounds too early. It came amid controversy and a ton of blogger fanboys being mad on line.
But oh boy did it deliver.
Through a 40-minute battle, Wichita State prevailed over Dayton, 64-58.
After a week of constant talk about how Wichita State was under-seeded (which it was, make no mistake), Dayton seemed to be an after-thought. It was almost as if people forgot that the Flyers had a great season themselves and were more than capable of knocking off the mighty Shockers.
Dayton gave the nation a reminder in the first half.
While the Flyers overwhelmed Wichita State defensively — hardly allowing the Shockers room to breathe, let alone get a clean look — Scoochie Smith went to work offensively. He scored 15 points in the first half and looked darn good in the process.
SCOOCH. STEPBACK. MONEY. pic.twitter.com/DObYPfa06c— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) March 17, 2017
Dayton led 29-27 at the break in a defensive battle.
In the second half, the teams traded baskets and the lead until an 8-2 run gave Wichita State a six-point lead with 5:41 to play.
Wichita State never trailed again, withstanding Dayton’s efforts with clutch shooting, a bevy of blocked shots, and, admittedly, some help from those guys dressed like Foot Locker employees.
THIS IS A JUMP BALL WHAT THE HELL pic.twitter.com/5LV8AMBRPA— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) March 18, 2017
Smith scored a game-high 25 to lead Dayton, while Kendall Pollard had 13 more. Landry Shamet (13 points) and Zach Brown (10 points) led the Shockers’ balanced attack.
Wichita State will face the winner of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16.