Dayton Flyers return to top 25 for first time in almost four years

Runner-up finish in Maui Invitational impresses Associated Press voters

The Dayton Flyers returned to the Associated Press top 25 poll for the first time in 1,387 days, earning a No. 19 ranking Monday.

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Blowout victories against Georgia and Virginia Tech and an overtime loss to Kansas in the Maui Invitational last week made voters take notice of the Flyers (5-1), who received one vote in the first four polls of the season. Cecil Hurt, of the Tuscaloosa News, was the only person who voted for Dayton until this week.

This is the first ranking for the Flyers in coach Anthony Grant’s three seasons. Dayton had not been ranked since the February 15, 2016, poll when it moved from No. 19 to No. 15. After that poll came out, Dayton lost its next games to Saint Joseph’s and St. Bonaventure.

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The last time Dayton played in Maui in 2013, it used victories over Gonzaga and California and a close loss to Baylor to move into the top 25 for the first time since 2010. The Flyers were ranked 25th until a road loss to Illinois State knocked them out of the poll.

Dayton is 131-45 as a ranked team and 8-1 as the No. 19 team.

Kansas jumped from No. 4 to No. 2 after winning the Maui Invitational. Colorado, a team Dayton plays on Dec. 21 in Chicago, ranks 20th. Saint Mary’s, Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth, three other teams Dayton plays, are among the teams receiving votes. VCU was ranked 20th last week but dropped out of the poll after losing to Purdue and Tennessee last week.

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Dayton returned to Ohio from Maui on Friday and play Houston Baptist (0-5) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at UD Arena. The Flyers then play Saint Mary’s (8-1), which began the season in the top 25, at 4 p.m. Sunday in Phoenix.

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