Charles Cooke and Scoochie Smith scored 20 points apiece as the Dayton Flyers beat VCU 79-72 on Wednesday night to clinch the Atlantic 10 championship.
The Flyers led by as many as 14 in the second half but had to hold off a Rams rally in the final minute.
With VCU trailing by two and under 20 seconds to go, JeQuan Lewis missed a three-pointer from the corner, and UD senior Kyle Davis made both ends of a one-and-one with 16 seconds left to make it a two-possession game again.
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Cooke tallied 15 points and Smith added 11 as Dayton outscored VCU 45-38 in the first half.
The Flyers used a 12-3 run midway through the first half to open up a double-digit lead for the first time.
Dayton’s Scoochie Smith drives against Mo Alie-Cox of VCU in the first half (Photo: David Jablonski/CMG Ohio)
Photo: Staff Writer
Kendall Pollard started it with a driving layup on the baseline, and Cooke finished it free throws coming off a technical foul called against the VCU bench with 6:59 left in the first half.
Those left Dayton on top 26-15.
The Flyers were up 11 again after Cooke’s layup with :54 on the clock, but VCU scored the last two buckets of the half to close within seven.
Justin Tillman scored 12 points for VCU.
The first half was a foulfest as the teams combined to be called for 24 personal fouls, including 12 on each team.
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