After nearly meeting in Maui Invitational, Syracuse, Dayton prepare for NCAA Tournament face-off

first_imgBUFFALO, N.Y. — The last time Syracuse and Dayton played was in 1977.But it was almost in November at the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The Flyers lost in the final seconds of the semifinals against Baylor, failing to earn a date with the Orange, who went on to win the tournament championship.While in Maui, both teams got a chance to watch and scout each other. Four months later, SU and Dayton have taken different trajectories to get where they are now.But Saturday at First Niagara Center, Syracuse (28-5, 14-4 Atlantic Coast) and Dayton (24-10, 10-6 Atlantic 10) will have a chance to play the game that never happened. The No. 3-seed Orange and No. 11-seed Flyers will square off at approximately 7:10 p.m. with a berth to the Sweet 16 in Memphis, Tenn., on the line.“They’re a really good team,” SU guard Trevor Cooney said. “We were surprised we didn’t play them. They lost to Baylor on a game-winner. It was a very close game.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat game-winner came from Cory Jefferson with a mere 16 seconds to go. Baylor led 1-0, then trailed the rest of the game until Jefferson’s putback.Dayton’s Devin Oliver had a chance for a putback of his own in the final two seconds to give the Flyers the win, but the ball ricocheted off the rim, effectively giving Dayton its first loss.“I think we really proved ourselves out there,” Oliver said. “We were one tip-in away from playing in the championship.”While in Maui, SU head coach Jim Boeheim was impressed with the job Dayton head coach Archie Miller has done to help jumpstart the program.The Flyers made the NCAA Tournament in 2009, but have flip-flopped between the National Invitational Tournament and no postseason at all, since.“I’m just impressed with how hard his team plays, how they play together,” Boeheim said. “Just a really, really well-coached team. He’s done a tremendous job coaching that team.”Now Dayton’s back in the Big Dance and fresh off an upset of Ohio State, and Oliver said he and his teammates have prospered from Miller’s hands-on coaching style.Boeheim, who said he has watched nearly every team except Mercer — who upset Duke earlier Saturday — had the luxury of seeing the Flyers play in person.He learned that Dayton is a balanced team and one that can hurt you in a multitude of ways.But the benefits were twofold. Oliver said the Flyers proved themselves in Maui. They weren’t expected to beat then-No. 11 Gonzaga or contend with then-No. 18 Baylor, but they did. A team that started out as a blip on the college basketball radar quickly transformed into a legitimate contender.“Maui brought us all together as a team,” Dayton forward Jalen Robinson said.Oliver said Dayton can’t get overwhelmed by the “S” on the Syracuse jersey. It can’t get mesmerized by Tyler Ennis, whom he called one of, if not the best point guard in the country.The Flyers just have to play their game, and everything will work out OK.“We kind of look at it as an opportunity missed,” Oliver said, “and we get that opportunity now.”But capitalizing on the opportunity won’t be easy. The Orange pieced together one of its most complete games of the season against Western Michigan, and appears to be back on track after a topsy-turvy end to the regular season and an early departure from the ACC tournament.Miller saw firsthand just how long and disruptive the Syracuse zone can be. He said SU thrives on forcing steals and turning defense into offense, just like it does most years.At around 2:20 p.m. Friday, a horde of reporters gathered to watch Mercer complete its upset over Duke. Some stood right outside the doorway, others stood inside.When Anthony White Jr.’s layup with 42 seconds left gave the Bears a five-point lead and essentially clinched the game, the crowd reveled and momentarily parted.Out walked Miller from inside the room, a serious expression on his face, but the slightest twinkle in his eyes.There’s already been enough madness to bust every bracket but one on major Tournament sites but Miller hopes Dayton can be the next team to stir things up just a little bit more.“We learned that we can beat anybody,” Robinson said. “We’re just as good as the next team. As long as we’re together, we can pull out any win.” Comments Published on March 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm Contact Trevor: | @TrevorHass Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

U.S. Open 2019: Abraham Ancer talks Pebble Beach, how late father helped his game

first_img U.S. Open 2019: Jason Day says he’s ‘underachieved,’ but new caddy Steve Williams will help “It’s always tough,” Ancer told Omnisport, speaking on behalf of Corona Premier. “Every day I think about it would be awesome to have him here with me watching me play, I know he still is, but I mean, just being a little selfish and just having him here it would be incredible just to see all the work and all the effort he put in and invested in me to get me here.”Abraham Sr. died in 2014 after suffering a heart attack. He never got a chance to see his son play on the PGA Tour, but encouraged his namesake in the game from the time he was in diapers.He had his son on the course in the family’s home town of Reynosa, Mexico, and did all he could to help the young man’s game. What came of that was a chance to play in junior college and eventually a scholarship to Oklahoma which served as a springboard to professional golf.It’s something Ancer would have loved to experience with his dad, especially when, a year after his father’s death, he earned his PGA Tour card.”It took a lot out of him money-wise, he went out of his way for me to play at junior events, whatever he could get me on he would do,” Ancer said. “So I’ll always be extremely thankful for that.”Ancer never really got to play in the high-level AJGA events growing up, but he said both of his parents did all they could to support him which helped him earn a chance to play at the next level. And now he has a chance to play in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. U.S. Open 2019: Dustin Johnson says he’s ‘very comfortable’ at Pebble Beach But when Ancer hits his first drive and rolls his first putt, he will be without the man who helped grow his passion for the game.Ancer’s father, also named Abraham, died in 2014 and never saw the 28-year-old play in a single major. It’s difficult for Ancer to deal with and something he would have loved to be able to share with his dad. Related Newscenter_img When Abraham Ancer steps onto the first tee at Pebble Beach in the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday it will be a special moment for a lot of reasons.It will be his first appearance at the Open and only his third opportunity at a major, and of course, just playing at Pebble Beach is special in and of itself. It’s a moment not lost on the young golfer from Mexico and one he can’t wait to experience for the first time.”Every hole is just so good out here,” Ancer said. “But I mean the stretch from 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, all of those holes that are right along the ocean, I mean the views are incredible.”I’m going to try to just enjoy that and it’s funny to say that, at Corona their saying is to ‘enjoy the view’ and this is just perfect for this golf course.”last_img read more