Dayton Flyers bounce back from Fordham loss, beating Davidson in OT

Dayton's Mustapha Amzil, Moulaye Sissoko, Jordy Tshimanga and Brett Comer huddle before a game against La Salle on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Dayton's Mustapha Amzil, Moulaye Sissoko, Jordy Tshimanga and Brett Comer huddle before a game against La Salle on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

UD overcomes game-tying 3-pointer by Davidson star in final seconds of regulation

Jalen Crutcher and Ibi Watson starred in overtime as the Dayton Flyers beat Davidson 89-78 on Friday night at Belk Arena in Davidson, N.C.

The victory against a team picked to finish seventh in the Atlantic 10 Conference came three days after the worst loss of the Anthony Grant era. Dayton (6-3 overall) bounced back from a 55-54 loss at Fordham, evening its record in the league at 2-2 and avoiding its first back-to-back A-10 losses in three years.

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The overtime win came four years after Dayton outscored Davidson 15-8 in overtime to win 89-82 at Belk Arena. Scoochie Smith scored 11 of his 17 points and made three 3-pointers in that overtime period.

In this game, Dayton overcame Davidson star Kellan Grady’s game-tying shot with 3.3 seconds left in regulation and outscored Davidson 17-6 in overtime. The Flyers had a 13-2 edge in the last two minutes of overtime.

This time, Crutcher was the star. He scored a career-high 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting six days after scoring his previous career high 26 points in a 74-65 victory against George Mason. He had four points in overtime on back-to-back layups, the second of which gave Dayton a 78-76 lead with 1:58 to play.

On the next possession, Ibi Watson, who scored 24 points, hit a 3-pointer to give Dayton an 81-76 lead with 1:22 to play. After a basket by Davidson, Crutcher assisted Zimi Nwokeji on a wide-open layup.

Dayton’s Watson, Koby Brea and Mustapha Amzil sealed the victory by combining to make 6 of 8 free throws in the final 30 seconds.

Dayton shot a season-best 56.9 percent from the field (29 of 51) and made 11 of 25 3-pointers (44 percent) one game after making a season-worst 4 of 23 (17.4 percent) in the loss to Fordham. Dayton also made a season-best 20 of 24 free throws (83.3 percent).

Dayton led throughout the second half, stretching its lead to as many as eight points with 14 minutes to go. Both teams came out hot in the second half, combining for seven 3-pointers in the first four minutes.

Near the end of regulation, Watson gave Dayton a 70-67 lead on a short jump shot late in the shot clock with 30 seconds to play. Davidson’s Luka Brajkovic then scored on a wide-open dunk with 15 seconds remaining.

Davidson had to foul at that point and fouled Crutcher with 12.8 seconds left. He made both.

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Dayton then chose not to foul and prevent Davidson from getting the chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer. Davidson star Kellan Grady took advantage and tied the game at 72-72 on a 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left. Grady finished the game with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting.

Watson missed a 3-pointer at the final buzzer as the game went to overtime.

In the first half, the Flyers trailed only once, 2-0. They took the lead on a 3-pointer by Watson on their first possession. They didn’t trail again in the half, taking a 32-31 halftime lead.

Foul trouble hurt Dayton in the half. Jordy Tshimanga had six points on 3-of-3 shooting and four rebounds but was limited to 10 minutes after picking up his second foul. Mustapha Amzil played only seven minutes after picking up two early fouls. Moulaye Sissoko picked up their playing time and committed four fouls in seven minutes.

Dayton made 4 of 10 3-pointers in the half after making 4 of 23 in its previous game against Fordham.

Davidson, which got 12 points from Kellan Grady in the half, kept it close by dominating the offensive boards. It had six to Dayton’s zero and scored five second-chance points.

NOTES: Junior guard Elijah Weaver made his first start in a Dayton uniform, replacing Brea, who started the last two games. Brea replaced Rodney Chatman, who will miss six to eight weeks after undergoing hand surgery Wednesday. Weaver scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 36 minutes.

• The game was played without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was the second straight road game Dayton has played without fans in the stands.

• Dayton returns to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Duquesne (2-3, 1-2) at UD Arena. Dayton follows that with two games against George Washington, which paused basketball activities and cancelled its game Saturday at St. Bonaventure because of a positive COVID-19 test.

“No determination has been made on future games following tomorrow’s postponed contest,” George Washington announced.

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