It was sweet while it lasted. The Stanford men's basketball team just couldn't make it an elite journey.
Dwight Powell, one of several seniors playing their final game in a Cardinal uniform, scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds, one of four players to reach double figures in scoring in Stanford's 82-72 loss to Dayton on Thursday in the South regional semifinal of the NCAA tournament in Memphis.
"For those guys, they left their legacy," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "They were able to compete in the NCAA Tournament. They were able to go into the Sweet 16 and compete. They'll always be remembered for that."
Senior forward Josh Huestis added 13 points, eight rebounds and blocked four shots. Heustis leaves Stanford as its all-time shot blocker with 190.
Junior guard Chasson Randle led the Cardinal (23-13) with 21 points, though he was 5 of 21 from the field.
Randle has 1,651 points, fifth on Stanford's all-time scoring list. He's 685 points shy of all-time leader Todd Lichti. Randle finished with 675 points this year.
"It just means we have to work so much harder to advance and go further next year," Randle said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Randle is within reach of Dion Cross' record for career 3-pointers, finishing the season with 214, 27 shy of the top spot.
Redshirt junior Stefan Nastic added 15 points before fouling out. He proved to be a solid presence in the paint and his absence proved crucial.
Powell leaves with 853 career rebounds, three shy of Mark Madsen for sixth place. Huestis is right behind with 834.
Dayton, which faces top-seeded Florida on Saturday, led most of the game.
The Cardinal drew within 47-43 with 15:52 remaining to play on an acrobatic move to the basket from Powell.
Dayton, which got to more loose balls and generally outhustled Stanford overall, responded with a quick run to regain a double-digit lead about three minutes later.
"They're a deep team, a talented team and a tough team," Powell said. "They made their runs. We weren't able to stop them on the other end and they took advantage of their opportunities."
Powell again brought Stanford back from extinction, making 1 of 2 foul shots on a flagrant foul and then converting a three-point play to make it 64-48 with just over eight minutes left.
Dayton always had an answer though, whether a deadly 3-pointer from the corner, or a three-point play on a driving lay-up.
"They were relentless is the best way I can put it," Dawkins said. "They came in waves."
Except for Powell, no other Cardinal made a key basket to close the gap. When Stanford did force a turnover, it would give the ball right back, or miss an open shot.
"This is very tough for us," Powell said. "I mean, one of our goals is to make the tournament, obviously, but we fell short of all of our goals, and that's always disappointing. Hopefully we have left a path for those guys to follow and exceed. Right now it's just a bitter pill to swallow."
Stanford had trouble hanging onto the ball early, falling behind the Flyers, who were 6 of 13 from 3-point range and shot 47 percent overall in the first half en route to a 42-32 lead.
The Cardinal shot 33 percent from the field over the first 20 minutes, several misses coming from inside the paint.