Jordan Woodard had 16 points, Buddy Hield added 15 and Frank Booker hit four big threes off the bench as No. 3 Oklahoma landed a come-from-behind win over No. 11 Dayton on Sunday night, 72-66.
The Sooners jumped out to an early double-digit lead, but a 16-0 Dayton run at the end of the first half erased that. The Flyers would push their lead to as much as 49-40 thanks to another 12-0 run, but Booker ended that surge with a tough, fadeaway three from the corner. The Sooners would go on to hold Dayton without a field goal for almost seven minutes, using an 11-1 run to take a 60-56 lead that they would never relinquish.
With the win, Lon Kruger has now taken four teams to the Sweet 16 since the tournament expanded to 64 in 1985. Eddie Sutton has as well, but his Sweet 16 trip with Creighton in 1974 came in a year where the tournament had just 25 teams. Kruger’s won a game in the tournament at five different schools, a phenomenal feat, and the Sooners are nowhere near done. They’re in a region where the top two seeds have already been knocked out, as they’ll play No. 7 seed Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
The Sooners have Final Four talent on their roster this year. They’re not all that deep, but they can really defend and when their threes are going down, they’re dangerous.
Dayton has no reason to hang their heads. The Flyers and Archie Miller had an absolutely incredible season considering that, after they kicked off two big men early in the season, they had just six scholarship players on the roster, none of whom were taller than 6-foot-6. And yet, the Flyers finished second Atlantic 10 regular season and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
I have a feeling their accomplishment in the tournament — winning two games after starting out in the First Four — because they more or less got three home games; the First Four was played in their home arena while the next two rounds took place in Columbus, Ohio, about 70 miles away. But that overlooks the fact that the Flyers quite simply had no business being a tournament team given what pieces they had available, let alone a team that advanced to the Round of 32.
Miller’s got it rolling at Dayton, meaning that not only is he one of the hottest young names in college coaching, but he’s proven to be good enough that he can wait for the job he wants to open.