Dyshawn Pierre left the court in the final minute, his Dayton Flyers career ending with a 70-51 loss to Syracuse on Friday at the Scottrade Center in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Bobby Wehri, Dayton’s other senior, replaced him.
Pierre played in eight NCAA Tournament games in the last three seasons. Wehrli played a key role off the bench a year ago but didn’t enter this game until the end.
No. 7 seed Dayton’s loss to No. 10 Syracuse didn’t tarnish the careers of the two seniors. Their legacies in one of the great three-year runs in school history were already secure.
“Dyshawn and Bobby are both lumped into the same thing,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “They gave everything they had.”
Pierre had six points and six rebounds in 36 minutes. He finished his career with 1,423 points, ranking 23rd in UD history, and 838 rebounds. He passed Mike Kanieski on the career rebounding list Saturday and ranks 12th.
“The thing I’ll remember most about Dyshawn is how unselfish he was,” Miller said. “We would not have won our regular-season conference championship if his decision wasn’t to come back, and we would probably not have made the NCAA Tournament. He’s always been unselfish, but the guy really sold out and gave everything he had to the program. He’s a big reason we are where we are right now.”
Pierre said he thanked his teammates after the game for the last couple of years and said it was upsetting he wouldn’t get to play with them again. Dayton finished 5-3 in the tournament in his career.
“Having that winning culture here in Dayton is a big thing for us,” Pierre said. “We had that in mind for a long time from the beginning, even when we weren’t in the tournament. We should set this as a standard to make the tournament every single year. We should make a higher standard for ourselves to win a couple games.”
Pollard’s play: Junior forward Kendall Pollard played 24 minutes with a bruised femur and a sprained arm. He shot 2 of 7 from the field and had four points and six rebounds.
“I would say Kendall’s last three-and-a-half to four weeks, he was probably at about 50 to 60 percent,” Miller said. “To be honest, I wasn’t even sure he was going to play today. He hurt his arm in the St. Joe’s game. He couldn’t shoot a basketball until this morning, but he’s a tough kid. He hasn’t practiced since January. He wasn’t anything remotely close to his normal self.”
By the numbers: Dayton is 19-19 in NCAA Tournament play. … This was Dayton’s 34th 20-win season. … This was Dayton’s most lopsided NCAA loss since a 98-71 loss to Michigan on March 12, 1965. … Syracuse shot 0 of 10 from 3-point range in a 55-53 loss to Dayton in the second round of the 2014 tournament. The Orange made 8 of 22 Friday.