Dayton Flyers: Ranking biggest shots of Anthony Grant era

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Highlights: Amzil's shot and Dayton's celebration after victory over Kansas on Nov. 26, 2021

Amzil tops the list with buzzer-beater against Kansas

Mustapha Amzil accomplished something rare on multiple levels by getting his high-arcing shot to bounce off the rim and backboard aand fall through the net Friday in a 74-73 victory against No. 4 Kansas.

According to ESPN, Amzil’s shot helped Dayton become the second team in the last 10 seasons to rally from a 15-point deficit to beat a team ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll. Stephen F. Austin, which beat No. 1 Duke on Nov. 26, 2019, is the other team on that list.

Amzil also hit the first true buzzer-beater for the Flyers since Brooks Hall’s basket to beat Villanova in 2002. There have been a number of memorable shots in the final seconds since then, but there’s almost always a second or less on the clock when the shots fall, or officials put time back on the clock after reviewing the play. The clock hit zero when Amzil’s shot hit the backboard.

Amzil’s basket is the biggest during coach Anthony Grant’s five seasons, but there have been several other unforgettable moments. Here’s a ranking of the top seven:

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Dayton press conference: Anthony Grant and Mustapha Amzil after beating Kansas, Nov. 26, 2021

1. Amzil vs. Kansas: Nov. 26, 2021

The second-year Dayton forward said he made another last-second shot, from half-court, during his high school days in Finland. This one has to top his list now. It was his only basket — and only field-goal attempt — of the game.

“It was great,” Amzil said. “I had to watch the ball bounce in and down. It’s hard to describe. It’s surreal. It’s a great feeling. I saw the clock when I was driving. I was about to kick it out, but there was just one second so I just had to take the shot.”

» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Kansas

Kansas had two fouls to give in the final seconds, but chose not to foul Malachi Smith, whose shot was blocked by David McCormack on the final play, or Amzil, who grabbed the ball after the blocked shot.

“I thought about fouling him,” said Kansas guard Christian Braun, who defended the final shot, “but I didn’t want to risk that. The guy just hit a tough shot.”

Kansas coach Bill Self said he told his team in the timeout with 15 seconds to play to foul if they were beat.

“The thing about that is if you foul with seven left, they’re not shooting,” Self said, “but now you’re not playing as aggressive defense on the next possession.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Highlights: Jalen Crutcher hits game-winner for Dayton Flyers in OT

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

2. Jalen Crutcher vs. Saint Louis: Jan. 17, 2020

Crutcher hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime to give the Dayton Flyers one of their biggest victories of the season — and certainly the grittiest. UD trailed 55-42 with 7:42 to play in the second half.

» PHOTOS: The big shots and the celebration | The first 40 minutes

No. 13 Dayton beat Saint Louis 78-76 on Friday at Chaifetz Arena. Saint Louis took a 76-75 lead on two free throws by Yuri Collins with 6 seconds left.

Crutcher took the in-bounds pass, dribbled around the 3-point line to get space and launched the game winner. Just 0.1 seconds was left on the clock. Saint Louis launched a long shot that wouldn’t have counted anyway as time expired.

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Dayton's Jalen Crutcher makes a 3-pointer in the final seconds against Kansas to send the game to overtime on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in the Maui Invitational championship at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Dayton's Jalen Crutcher makes a 3-pointer in the final seconds against Kansas to send the game to overtime on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in the Maui Invitational championship at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

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Dayton's Jalen Crutcher makes a 3-pointer in the final seconds against Kansas to send the game to overtime on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in the Maui Invitational championship at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

3. Crutcher v. Kansas: Nov. 27, 2019

The Dayton Flyers pushed the nation’s fourth-ranked team for 45 minutes, showing they are every bit as good as they looked in the first two rounds of the Maui Invitational but falling short in overtime in the championship game Wednesday.

» PHOTOS: Flyers vs. Jayhawks

Kansas was too strong in the post in the final minutes and in overtime and pulled out a 90-84 victory at the Lahaina Civic Center. Despite the result, the game should rank among the greatest in Dayton history. Seeking their first victory against a top-five team since the famous last-second win over DePaul in 1984, the Flyers just couldn’t get enough stops in overtime.

Udoka Azubuike, a 7-foot senior center for Kansas, won the game with his dominant performance, especially toward the end of the game as the Jayhawks looked to him every time. He scored 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting. He had 11 points in overtime.

A 3-pointer by Jalen Crutcher in the final seconds of regulation tied the game at 73-73. Crutcher made 4 of 9 3-pointers, and Dayton shot 48.5 percent from 3-point range, showing the touch from outside in the opening minutes and staying hot the entire game.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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WATCH: Dayton beats Ball State on buzzer-beater by Josh Cunningham

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

4. Josh Cunningham vs. Ball State: Nov. 10, 2017

Josh Cunningham watched his winning shot for the first time on a reporter’s cell phone seconds after completing a post-game interview. It won’t be the last time he sees it. This one will play on repeat for years in the mind of Cunningham and for everyone in the sellout crowd of 13,350 at UD Arena.

This wasn’t The Shot by Ed Young or The Kiss By Vee Sanford. Considering the circumstances, however, The Lob will go down in the Dayton Flyers record book as one of the most memorable last-second baskets in school history.

» PHOTOS: Relive the dramatic victory

“I didn’t panic,” said Cunningham, a redshirt junior forward who’s Dayton’s lone captain. “I’ve seen big moments like this happen before. You can’t panic. When you panic, that’s when things start to go the wrong way. You’ve got to stay calm and execute what the play is.”

Cunningham’s shot with 0.1 seconds to play beat Ball State 78-77 on Friday at UD Arena in the first game of the Anthony Grant era.

5. R.J. Blakney vs. Mississippi State: Dec. 12, 2020

Blakney’s first career 3-pointer, off an assist by Ibi Watson, and his first basket of the game came tied the game with 15 seconds left. Dayton won 85-82 in double overtime.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Highlights of Dayton's comeback against VCU

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

6. Cunningham vs. VCU, Feb. 10, 2018

Dayton sent this game to overtime with a 16-1 run in the last 3:13. Jordan Davis hit a 3-pointer with 1:46 to play to trim VCU’s lead to 78-69. A 3-point play by Cunningham, two free throws by Davis and then a 3-pointer by Jalen Crutcher with 11 seconds to go cut the deficit to 78-77.

After VCU’s Jonathan Williams made 1 of 2 free throws with seven seconds remaining, Crutcher lobbed the ball to Josh Cunningham for a game-tying layup with 0.1 seconds left.

“That was the plan,” Crutcher said. “If Josh’s man didn’t show up on me, drive to the goal and get a layup, and if he does, throw the alley-oop.”

The Flyers lost 88-84 in overtime.

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Dayton’s Obi Toppin reacts to a play during a game against Colorado on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the United Center in Chicago. David Jablonski/Staff

Dayton’s Obi Toppin reacts to a play during a game against Colorado on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the United Center in Chicago. David Jablonski/Staff

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Dayton’s Obi Toppin reacts to a play during a game against Colorado on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the United Center in Chicago. David Jablonski/Staff

7. Obi Toppin vs. Colorado: Dec. 21, 2019

Toppin hit a game-tying 3-pointer with six seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. He had missed a 3-pointer seconds earlier. Colorado won the game 78-76 on its own buzzer-beater, by D’Shawn Schwartz. It was the final loss for Dayton in a 29-2 season.

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