ANALYSIS: 3 takeaways from Dayton’s OT victory vs. Loyola

Camara, Smith lead offense as Flyers survive upset bid in overtime

Anthony Grant didn’t have much voice left in his postgame press conference Tuesday at UD Arena. He said he had a cold, which combined with an intense, 45-minute game to limit his decibels as he talked about an 85-81 victory against Loyola Chicago.

Explore» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Loyola

“Obviously, the game took a lot out of me,” Grant said. “I’m just proud of our guys for our resiliency to be able to pull out the win tonight. Loyola was a tough opponent. We knew they were better than their record. They showed that and more tonight. Sometimes you just have to give the other team credit. I thought they played really well and put themselves in position to win.”

Dayton (15-8, 7-3) won its 18th straight Atlantic 10 Conference home game against teams not named Virginia Commonwealth and stayed in third place while keeping league newcomer Loyola (7-14, 1-8) in last place.

Here are three takeaways from Dayton’s 23rd game:

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

1. The Flyers survived another last-minute collapse: Dayton blew a four-point lead in the final 30 seconds in a 63-62 loss to VCU at UD Arena on Jan. 13. It had a 72-66 lead against Loyola with 49 seconds to play.

Braden Norris made a 3-pointer with 41 seconds to play to cut Dayton’s lead in half. After Dayton guard Kobe Elvis had a shot blocked with 14 seconds remaining, Philip Alston made a game-tying, bank-shot 3-pointer over Dayton forward Toumani Camara with 0.4 seconds on the clock.

With a 3-point lead, Dayton elected not to foul Loyola in the final seconds and put it on the line. It could have taken away the chance for a game-tying 3-pointer if it had gone with that strategy.

“We had one timeout left,” Grant said. “I debated whether to call it at that time to talk about whether or not we wanted to foul. If we were going to foul, it was going to be under five seconds. They had about 10.9 when they got it. Then we did a really good job of taking away pretty much every option they had, and at the last second, No. 4 (Norris) was able to find No. 23 (Alston) in the corner and he just rose up. I think it hit the corner of the backboard and went in. That’s basketball.”

Grant said the team hasn’t had enough time to practice fouling in end-of-game situations, and that’s why the players didn’t take it upon themselves to foul and prevent Loyola from taking a tying 3.

“We’ll have a chance to maybe learn some stuff from watching the film and talk about what we what we could do,” Grant said, “and hopefully at some point, we’ll be able to handle some of those situations in practice to get us better prepared.”

2. This was Dayton’s first significant comeback victory of the season and its first victory in a close game: The Flyers were 0-5 entering this game when they trailed with five minutes remaining and 1-1 when the game was tied at that point.

This game was tied at 64-64 at the 5:00 minute mark because Malachi Smith made a layup 36 seconds earlier. Smith then made a go-ahead 3-pointer on the next possession with 4:36 to play. Camara pushed the lead to 69-64 with two free throws. At that point, Dayton was on a 20-7 run. It trailed 57-49 with 10 minutes to play.

“They made their run,” Smith said. “That’s what every team is going to do. There was a lot of time for us to make a comeback. We locked in on defense, got some good stops, and then we started hitting shots. The crowd got involved. We just took off from there.”

Until this victory, Dayton had been 0-4 in games decided by five points or less. It lost its only previous overtime game, 79-75 to Brigham Young. It also lost its only overtime game last season, at Vanderbilt in the NIT.

3. Smith delivered the best offensive performance of his career: The sophomore point guard scored a career-high 21 points. He made 6 of 8 field goals and 3 of 4 3-pointers. His previous career high was 16 points, which he hit twice last season.

Smith also had eight assists and no turnovers after recording a career-high 13 assists Saturday in an 86-60 victory against Richmond. This was his fifth game back after he missed 11 games with an ankle injury.

“He’s a great playmaker,” Camara said. “He knows exactly what to do on the floor. He’s like a general, just controlling the floor. He put us in the offense and control everybody, even on defense. He just keeps us together. We had a whole year together last year, so having him back on the court brings confidence to everybody.”


Toumani Camara scored a career-high 31 points. He made 10 of 14 field goals and 9 of 11 free throws. He also led Dayton with nine rebounds. Camara hit his previous career high of 27 points in the loss to VCU on Jan. 17 but had nine turnovers in that game. He had three in this game.


Loyola made 13 of 25 3-pointers. It made 5 of 10 in the first half, 7 of 12 in the second half and 1 of 3 in overtime. Dayton ranks eighth in the country in 3-point percentage defense (28.2). Only three teams have shot better than 40% against Dayton. This was Loyola’s third-best shooting performance from long range.


Dayton plays at St. Bonaventure (11-11, 5-4) at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Reilly Center. The Bonnies won 61-58 at VCU on Saturday and play at Richmond on Wednesday.

The Flyers have won seven straight games in the series and six straight games at St. Bonaventure since an 81-73 loss in 2012.


Dayton at Saint Bonaventure, 8 p.m., ESPNU, 1290, 95.7

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