ANALYSIS: Three takeaways from Dayton’s stunning loss to VCU

Toumani Camara scores 27 points but commits half of Dayton’s 18 turnovers

Toumani Camara’s shoulders slumped. Then he bent all the way over, grabbing his toes.

While this wasn’t the Surrender Cobra posture, which is common among disappointed players and fans who grab their heads with their hands as their elbows point out, it was the movement of a distressed player.

Camara played the game of his life in many ways, scoring a career-high 27 points, but he also committed nine of Dayton’s 18 turnovers, including one that led to the go-ahead basket with 16 seconds to play in a 63-62 loss to Virginia Commonwealth on Friday at UD Arena.

Dayton blew a four-point lead in the last 30 seconds, committing two turnovers that led directly to five points.

“There’s nothing we can do,” Camara said. “What’s done is done. We need to move on from it and get better.”

The loss came one year and nine days after VCU beat Dayton 53-52 on a 3-pointer by Adrian Baldwin with six seconds to play. Dayton (12-6, 4-1) saw its seven-game winning streak and 17-game home winning streak end and fell into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference with VCU (13-5, 4-1), which has won eight of its last nine games.

“As tough as this is,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said, “I think the one thing I will say is the guys that we have in that locker room, they care a lot. It’s important to them. They work really hard and were trying to do the things we asked them to do today. We weren’t able to get that done, and they’re hurting for that so I hurt for them right now. I hurt for our group.”

Here are three takeaways from Dayton’s 18th game:

1. The game changed fast on three plays: Dayton had a 62-58 lead and the ball with 30 seconds left when Mike Sharavjamts threw a long in-bounds pass that was intercepted by David Shriver, who made a 3-pointer with 28 seconds to play.

On Dayton’s next possession, Koby Brea passed the ball to Camara past halfcourt, but he was trapped by two defenders, and VCU’s Nick Kern stole the ball. He took it the other way for a go-ahead layup with 16 seconds to play.

Dayton turned the ball over again on the in-bounds play after that basket, but Jayden Nunn missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Dayton got the ball over halfcourt and called timeout to set up a play with 5.7 seconds left. Camara got the ball but missed a shot near the rim with two defenders on him.

Asked if he liked the shot he got, Camara said, “I think I could have pump faked. I think I had another second.”

2. Shriver turned the game around for VCU: The Rams trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half and faced a 33-19 halftime deficit. They didn’t take long to get back in the game.

Shriver, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward who played last season at Hartford, cut Dayton’s lead to 35-30 at the 16:49 mark and made five more 3s in the half. He led the team with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.

Shriver made 3 of 3 3-pointers in VCU’s previous game against Loyola Chicago and 6 of 8 the game before that against Davidson.

“We were aware of how much of a weapon he is on the court,” Dayton forward DaRon Holmes II said. “We just have to do a better job of executing on the court. It just comes down to being able to guard him.”

3. VCU continues to own Dayton in close games: The Rams are 9-4 against Dayton in the last six years when Grant has coached the Flyers and Mike Rhoades has coached VCU.

Dayton has three double-digit victories in that span: 106-79 in 2018, 79-65 in 2020 and 82-52 in Richmond last season. VCU has seven victories by five points or fewer in the last six seasons, and Dayton has won only one close games, 66-61 in 2020 in Richmond.


Toumani Camara scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. He also made 6 of 8 free throws. His previous high of 20 points came against Southeastern Louisiana in December.


VCU scored 18 points, including its last five points, off 18 Dayton turnovers.


Dayton plays Davidson (9-8, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at UD Arena. The teams played Dec. 31 at Davidson in the second A-10 game of the season, and the Flyers won 69-55. Dayton has won six straight games in the series and beat the Wildcats 82-76 at UD Arena in the final game of the regular season last March. Davidson plays at George Mason (10-7, 2-2) on Saturday.


Davidson at Dayton, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network, 1290, 95.7

About the Author