The University of Dayton basketball team is making its fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance this season.
We’re looking back on some of the best UD individual performances in tournament history. Today, it’s Don May and his sharp-shooting takedown of North Carolina in the Flyers’ best tournament run.
Before the 1967 national semifinal began, Don May tucked an Immaculate Conception Medal into the waistband of his shorts.
Later, after a spectacular performance in UD’s biggest program win to date, he wouldn’t say if it made the difference.
“But,” the junior told a reporter, “it’s going to stay right there for the championship game.”
May, the local Belmont High School product and one of UD’s all-time greats, made 13 straight shots in one stretch and finished with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Flyers beat North Carolina 76-62 in that national semifinal. It propelled Dayton into the NCAA tournament final, which it lost the next day against UCLA, 79-64.
But May – and the Flyers – celebrated that March night in Louisville, where 18,889 had just witnessed their victory.
Dayton Daily News sports editor Si Burick chronicled the day’s unfolding events in his morning column. May was up early, even before trainer Eddie Kwest knocked on players’ doors to get them up. As it was Good Friday, the team went to Assumption Cathedral in downtown Louisville for a rosary service.
“When we began to conduct the Rosary, the rest of the crowd joined in,” said The Very Reverend Raymond A. Roesch, the UD president at the time.
“I wonder if they knew they were praying with or maybe for Dayton.”
The Flyers started slow against North Carolina, then May heated up. He missed his opening shot before making 13 straight and finishing with 16-of-22 shooting. It remains a Dayton program record for consecutive makes in a single game.
Dayton led 29-23 at halftime and ran away with the game in the second half, thanks to May.
May remains UD’s No. 2 career scorer, with 1,980 points from 1965-68, a 22-point career scoring average. Despite playing at 6 feet 4, he was also a great rebounder, with a 14.5-per-game career average.
He was drafted in the third round of the 1968 NBA draft by the New York Knicks, and he went on to a seven-year pro career with an 8.8-point career scoring average.
What do you remember about the game?