BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Syracuse has had to deal with teams slowing play all season. Get ready for a change of pace.
When the third-seeded Orange (28-5) face No. 11 Dayton (24-10) in the South Region of the NCAA tournament on Saturday night, the Flyers expect to be flying against the Orange’s vaunted 2-3 zone defense as the teams vie for a spot in the round of 16.
"We have to amp up our pace of play," Dayton coach Archie Miller said Friday. "When we play against the zone, we have to play as fast as we do against the man. That’s the comfort level of our kids. That’s the one thing we’ve got to do tomorrow -- that game’s got to be on the run."
Dayton advanced with a stirring 60-59 victory on Thursday over in-state foe Ohio State on Vee Sanford’s layup with 3.8 seconds left. Syracuse advanced with a dominating 77-53 victory over Western Michigan to get back on track after having lost five of seven entering the tournament.
The Broncos were out of the game in a hurry, committing 11 turnovers in the first half, and the Syracuse offense awoke behind guards Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney, scoring the most points in regulation time since late December.
Considering the struggles of the past month, that was something of a surprise.
Then again, it’s March.
The Dayton-Syracuse game will be a study in contrasts. Four of the Orange starters averaged over 31 minutes a game and the fifth, center Rakeem Christmas, averages 23.2. No Dayton player reached the 30-minute plateau, but 11 have logged time in at least 30 games, and that has been a boon.