Ncaa tournament play-in games
DAYTON, OHIO – Trailing most of the game, Dayton squeezed every last little bit out of its home-court advantage to get an NCAA men's basketball tournament victory.
Kendall Pollard scored 17 points Wednesday night, and Dayton — cheered on by the deafening home crowd — went on a closing run for a 56-55 win over Boise State (25-9) in the First Four.
The Flyers (26-8) will play sixth-seeded Providence on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. And they recognized that their 80-mile trip to the middle of the state had a lot to do with the place they were leaving.
"They were electrifying," senior guard Jordan Sibert said of the crowd. "I don't think we would have won that game without them."
It was the first time since 1987 that a school has played an NCAA tournament game on its home court, an anomaly resulting from Dayton hosting the opening games.
The Flyers went 16-0 at home during the regular season and have won 22 in a row at UD Arena, the seventh-longest active streak in Division I. Encouraged by the crowd of 12,592 — the largest for a First Four game — Dayton closed with a 10-2 run.
"It's a great feeling to be in the tournament still," Sibert said.
Robert Morris 81, North Florida 77: Lucky Jones scored 21 points, including a key free throw, Rodney Pryor had 20 and Marcquise Reed 19 to lead the Colonials (20-14) back from a 14-point second-half deficit to beat the Ospreys (23-12).
The Colonials, who won the Northeast Conference tournament to get into the field as a No. 16 seed, now meet top-seeded Duke in the second round on Friday in Charlotte.
As the final seconds ticked off, jubilant fans chanted, "We want Duke! We want Duke!"