ANALYSIS: Three takeaways from Dayton’s victory against Fordham

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Fordham coach Keith Urgo on Dayton: ‘That team is one hell of a basketball team’

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — All season long, the official Dayton Flyers men’s basketball Twitter account has celebrated every victory by sharing a photo of a player in the locker room holding a dry-erase board with the words “Flyers win!” written in black ink.

Explore» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Fordham

DaRon Holmes II got the honor Saturday. He used two exclamation points after “Flyers win” to celebrate a 78-68 victory against No. 3 seed Fordham in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament at the Barclays Center. Holmes could have used many more to emphasize the importance of the victory.

No. 2 seed Dayton advanced to the A-10 championship game for the first time since 2015 with the type of performance the Flyer Faithful has long waited to see. Dayton made its free throws. It avoided costly turnovers in the final minutes. It showed the killer instinct it needed to eliminate the A-10′s Cinderella, a Fordham team enjoying one of the best seasons in school history.

“I want to congratulate coach (Anthony) Grant and his staff,” Fordham coach Keith Urgo said. “Man, they’ve done an amazing job throughout the year. I find it funny that people don’t realize how difficult their year was. And to do what they’ve done and hold their program together like that through all of the adversity, the injuries and everything they’ve gone through — that team is one hell of a basketball team. And their kids showed up and played really hard.”

Here are three takeaways from Dayton’s 33rd game:

1. Toumani Camara took another step toward the all-tournament team: Ramod Marshall won the A-10 most outstanding player award in 2003, the only year Dayton has won the tournament.

With 17 points and 18 rebounds Thursday in a 60-54 quarterfinal victory against No. 10 seed Saint Joseph’s and 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting Saturday, Camara will be the favorite to win the award if Dayton can beat No. 1 seed Virginia Commonwealth in the championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday.

“He’s done a great job all year in a variety of different ways,” Grant said. “His contribution to winning is never going to be defined by how many points he scores. He is able to effect winning. And as a coach, the stuff on the stat sheet tells part of the story. It doesn’t tell the whole story. With the energy he brings on a daily basis, with his ability to impact games on the offensive end, on the defensive end, hustle plays, leadership, all the things that you need to put yourself in position to be able to make it to a conference championship, Toumani has been great for us all year.”

2. Dayton’s defense made big stops down the stretch: Fordham made timely shots again and again in the second half to stay within four points of Dayton until the Flyers took control with a 9-0 run late in the second half. From the 6:13 mark to the 2:19 mark, Fordham scored two points.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Fordham’s Will Richardson said. “It’s up and down. No matter what’s going on, we always try to stay steady. Don’t get too high when things are going good. Don’t get too low when things are going bad. So even when they did go on their 9-0 run, we still played our game, still did what our coaches tell us to do.”

3. Dayton had better depth than Thursday: Mike Sharavjamts played 10 minutes in the first half after missing the Thursday game with a knee injury. He made a 3 in the first half as Dayton built a 36-33 halftime lead.

“It was great to have him available,” Grant said. “I thought he did a good job in the minutes that he played. I think he got about 10 minutes today. He was able to go through our workout yesterday and was relatively pain free. So we needed that contribution from him as well. So it’s great to have him back.”


Camara fell three points of his career high of 31 points, which he recorded against Loyola Chicago in January. By making 12 of 13 shots, he set an A-10 tournament record for field-goal percentage in a single game (92.3). Two players shared the record of 90.9 previously: Rhode Island’s Antonio Reynolds-Dean (10 of 11 in 1999); and Saint Bonaventure’s Dion Wright (10 of 11 in 2015). He also tied the fifth-best mark in UD history with a minimum of 10 made shots.


Dayton shot 60.4% from the field (29 of 48). That’s the second time this season it has topped 60%. It shot 64.4% in the other game against Fordham, an 82-58 victory in January.


Dayton (22-11) will play No. 1 seed Virginia Commonwealth at 1 p.m. Sunday in the championship game. VCU beat No. 4 Saint Louis 90-78 in the first semifinal.

VCU last won the A-10 championship in 2015 when it beat Dayton in the final game at the Barclays Center. Dayton has never won the tournament outside UD Arena. It won its only title there in 2003.

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