Cunningham hits free throw in final seconds to lift Dayton over Davidson

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton vs. Davidson: Highlights from last four minutes

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Flyers blow big lead but knock off first-place team

Josh Cunningham made 1 of 2 free throws with 2.2 seconds to break a tie and give the Dayton Flyers a 74-73 victory at Davidson on Tuesday at Belk Arena.

The Flyers (17-9, 9-4) earned their biggest victory of the season, knocking Davidson (19-7, 10-3) out of first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference in the process. Dayton moved into a tie for third place with George Mason (15-11, 9-4) with five games to play. VCU (19-6, 10-2) sits alone in first place, a half game ahead of Davidson.

» TWENTY PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Davidson

This game was an almost complete reversal of Dayton’s 69-68 loss Saturday to Virginia Commonwealth when it overcame a 22-point deficit only to lose in the final seconds.

In this game, it was Dayton that blew the lead. It led by as many as 19 points in the second half and had a 66-50 lead with 7:27 to play. Davidson got back in the game with a 21-5 run, tying the game at 71-71 with 1:11 left.

The teams traded baskets in the final minute. Obi Toppin put Dayton ahead 73-71 with 34 seconds to go. Davidson tied the game on a layup by Jon Axel Gudmundsson with 11 seconds to play.

» DUNK RECORD: Wright excited as Toppin nears his mark

Dayton didn’t call timeout and took the ball the other way. Jalen Crutcher drove to the basket and passed to Cunningham, who was fouled with 2.2 seconds left. He missed the first but made the second. Davidson then missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Cunningham led the Flyers with 21 points. Toppin scored 18. Jordan Davis had 15. Ryan Mikesell scored 10. Gudmundsson scored 26 for the Wildcats.

HALFTIME RECAP

The Flyers held Davidson to 28 percent shooting in the first half and built a 37-25 halftime lead Tuesday at Belk Arena.

Dayton opened the game with three 3-pointers in the first five minutes to take a 9-4 lead. The Flyers led the rest of the half. Their largest lead was 13 points.

Josh Cunningham led Dayton with 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting and 4-of-4 shooting from the free throw line. Ryan Mikesell had eight points. Obi Toppin scored seven points.

KiShawn Pritchett led the Wildcats with eight points. He made 2 of 4 3-pointers. The team made 4 of 12.

Dayton also made 4 of 12 shots from long range and shot 46.4 percent from the field. Each team had six turnovers.

Trey Landers returned to action for Dayton after not playing Saturday because of a shoulder injury and was scoreless in seven minutes.