ANALYSIS: 5 takeaways from Dayton vs. UNLV

Flyers fall to 2-1 after blowing double-digit lead at UNLV

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Thomas & Mack Center features many homages to the famous UNLV teams of the last century, especially the 1990 NCAA champions. The face of Jerry Tarkanian, the coach of that team, isn’t hard to find in the concourse. The building was once known as the “Shark Tank” when he prowled the sideline.

The UNLV of today is not that national powerhouse, but it’s still a respectable Mountain West Conference program capable of defending its home court, even against a much-hyped team like the Dayton Flyers.

Dayton used the energy of its own crowd to pull away in the final minutes in a 72-64 victory against Southern Methodist on Friday in the second game of the season, and it saw that energy go the other way Tuesday in the third game. UNLV outscored No. 21 Dayton 38-20 in the second half and 16-8 in the final eight minutes to win 60-52.

“I think the only thing that changed was our intensity,” Dayton guard Kobe Elvis said. “The way we approached the second half was much different than the way we approached the first half. One through five and even in guys who checked in off the bench, things just didn’t feel right energy-wise.”

After a 3-pointer by Koby Brea with 6:46 to play, Dayton missed its last five field-goal attempts of the game and committed five turnovers in the same span. It scored its last five points at the free-throw line.

“I think (UNLV) played with great energy,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “I thought their aggressiveness on both sides, we didn’t handle it very well for a variety of reasons, whether it was being short-handed or foul trouble. I thought we were out of sorts.”

Dayton (2-1) fell to 0-3 in Nevada. This was its first game against UNLV. Here are five takeaways from the game:

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

1. There is good news and bad news on the injury front: Brea returned to action after missing the first two games with a lower body injury and played 24 minutes. Coach Anthony Grant didn’t plan to play him that long because he only just returned to practice last week after missing the entire preseason.

While Brea returned, Dayton lost forward Toumani Camara to a knee injury late in the first half. He sat on the bench for the rest of the game with a bag of ice on his right knee.

“It’s OK,” Camara said after the game. “It’s just a tweak.”

Camara said he has tendinitis in that knee, so the tweak added to his pain. He said he’ll be fine, though, and expects to play in the next game Saturday.

Dayton then lost forward DaRon Holmes II for three minutes early in the second half when he hurt his ankle. He went to the locker room with trainer Mike Mulcahey before rushing back to the bench and straight into the game. He wasn’t 100 percent the rest of the way but also said he’ll be fine and will play Saturday.

If that wasn’t enough, right after Holmes suffered his injury, Zimi Nwokeji got hit in the face and left the game with a cut. Richard Amaefule, who redshirted last season and missed most of the preseason with an injury, came into the game at that point and made his Dayton debut with two minutes of action.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

2. UNLV shut down Holmes: After scoring 20 points Friday against SMU, the sophomore forward scored two points on 1-of-5 shooting in 33 minutes on the same day he was named to the watch list for the John R. Wooden Award, one of the national player of the year honors.

“It was hard trying to force feed me the ball because this team was doing a good job of trying to take me away,” Holmes said. “So my objective for this game was to try to create for my teammates and still try to get open. If it’s there, try to score. I give credit to them. But at the same time I feel like we just could have done a better job executing overall.”

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

3. Turnovers hurt Dayton from the beginning to the end of the game: Even while building a 12-point lead in the first half and a 32-22 halftime advantage, Dayton wasn’t taking care of the ball. It finished with 24 turnovers, a number of them resulting from trying to force the ball to Holmes.

Elvis, who carried Dayton early with 13 of his 16 points in the first half, had six turnovers and no assists. R.J. Blakney and Holmes each had four turnovers.

“It just shows how careless we were today and our lack of attention to detail,” Elvis said. “Guys were just not being physical enough to get open and do basic things.”

4. UNLV took advantage of the turnovers: The Runnin’ Rebels scored 27 points off Dayton turnovers.

5. Mike Sharavjamts was again a bright spot: The Dayton freshman scored 14 points and made 4 of 6 3-pointers. He has scored in double figures in each of his first three games. He picked up his fourth foul with 9:15 to go with Dayton leading 44-42. By the time he returned, Dayton trailed 54-48.


UNLV guard Elijah Harkless, who played the last two seasons at Oklahoma after one season at Cal State Northridge, scored 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting.


Dayton had a 21-10 rebounding advantage in the first half when Camara played 12 minutes and was out-rebounded 19-13 in the second half when he was on the bench.


Dayton plays Robert Morris (1-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena and then leaves Monday for the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. It opens that tournament against Wisconsin on Nov. 23.


Robert Morris at Dayton, 1 p.m., Spectrum News 1; 1290, 95.7

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