Facing a deficit and a fired-up Dayton team fueled by their fans, Oklahoma went on lockdown.
A steal, then another, and then a third helped the Sooners get the lead. Then a block by Buddy Hield put Dayton away.
Hield and Jordan Woodard led a second-half defensive surge as Oklahoma advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament with a 72-66 victory in an East Regional third-round game yesterday in Columbus, Ohio. Third-seeded Oklahoma (24-10) will play Michigan State on Friday in Syracuse.
Coach Lon Kruger said it wasn't a matter of doing anything differently on defense -- just doing it better.
"I thought we just took on some individual challenges a little bit within the team concept at that point," said Kruger, who became the second coach to take four schools (Kansas State, Florida and UNLV) to the round of 16.
The Flyers (27-9), who started in the First Four at home, came up a victory short of their second straight trip to the Sweet 16.
"Yeah, just we just didn't make shots," said Jordan Sibert, Dayton's leading scorer this season, who had only seven points. "Had nothing to do with us being tired. Just some shots didn't go in. It's basketball."
Hield scored 15 points, including a layup after Woodard's steal to make it 57-56 with 5:56 left. Woodard had 16 points, including seven free throws in the final minute. OU held Dayton scoreless for 9:04 and without a basket for 10:32 in the second half.
Louisville 66, Northern Iowa 53: Early exit or Final Four -- Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he wouldn't be surprised by either this season. Well, how about another Sweet 16 for the Cardinals, a team the coach doesn't compare with his best but refuses to give up on, either.
Terry Rozier had 25 points and seven assists as the fourth-seeded Cardinals (26-8) beat fifth-seeded Northern Iowa in an East Regional third-round game in Seattle.
"Tonight, we played our best game of the season," Pitino said after his team reached the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year.
Louisville will play eighth-seeded North Carolina State on Friday in Syracuse.
Pitino's harassing defense, which morphed from a 2-3 zone to man-to-man and back again, made life rough on UNI's best player, Seth Tuttle, holding him to seven shots and 14 hard-earned points.
Not bad for a team playing with an eight-man rotation -- one that took a hit with the dismissal of starting guard Chris Jones last month. "We had to rally around it," Pitino said. "We have a short bench. But these guys don't take a play off, and that's unusual in this world."
Panthers coach Ben Jacobson all but admitted he got outcoached by Pitino. After making four of its first six shots, Northern Iowa went 4-for-14 the rest of the first half. "We got off to a good start and found some openings against that zone," Jacobson said. "But they made some adjustments, and I didn't adjust soon enough to find some different ways to get Seth the ball."