Dayton holds off Southeastern Louisiana; Grant gets 300th career win

Toumani Camara, Daron Holmes II lead five Flyers in double figures

For a large segment of Saturday afternoon’s basketball matinee at UD Arena, Dayton’s Flyers wondered if there were two Southeastern Louisiana University teams.

There was the one that played at Xavier on Wednesday night and was obliterated, 95-63.

And then there was the team, dressed in the same green and gold uniforms, being a scrappy, speedy, trey shooting pest.

The Flyers survived, 80-74, but like so many UD games this season, it didn’t come easy.

But there some historical markers to this game that pushed UD’s record to 5-4, with all five victories coming in front of the Flyer Faithful in UD Arena.

It was coach Anthony Grant’s 300th victory as a collegiate coach. It was Toumani Camara’s 100th college game, played at Georgia and UD.

And Camara, led the Flyers with 20 points, came within one point of his 1,000th on the collegiate floor.

Those are individual accomplishments and Grant and the Flyers are all about team success. The Flyers need all hands on deck to pull this one out and they got it.

Camara missed a double-double by one rebound — 20 points, nine rebounds. Daron Holmes II did collect a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Mustapha Amzil contributed 16 points, freshman point guard Mike Sharavjamts scored 14 and passed out eight assists. And R.J. Blakney’s 11 points put all five Flyer starters in double figures.

If that sounds as if a good time was had by all, well, the good times didn’t come until the end.

After falling behind, 21-3, to open the game against Xavier, the Lions not only nipped at the heels of the Flyers sneakers the first half, they led at intermission, 38-37.

SELU guard Christian Agnew came off the bench to score 18 first-half points on 5 of 7 three-point sniping, most of them coming when the Flyers retreated into a zone defense.

Blakney shut him down in the second only, only two more points, but that didn’t slow the Lions. They led with 18 minutes left. And they had it tied, 51-51, with eight minutes to go.

That’s when the Flyers decided enough was enough and exploded on a 12-0 run to grab a 63-51 lead with 6:50 to play.

Camara, using his bulk and strength, muscled his way to the basket two straight times for a 55-51 lead, Sharavjamts hit a runner in the lane and Amzil hit a three from the left side. It was such a big bucket he did a little dance and waved to the fans as he sprinted down the floor.

Sharavjamts completed the 12-point run with another three for the 63-51 lead.

The Flyers made only one basket in the final five minutes, but SELA kept sending them to the foul line, where they made 8 for 16, which enabled the Lions to stay within a close reach.

“If we make our free throws down the stretch, we pull away and when the game by a bigger margin,” said Grant. At one point, the Flyers were 12 for 13 from the line, but finished 23 for 34.

SELA outgoaled the Flyers, 26-25, but made only 13 of 18 from the foul line.

It all added up to UD’s 15th straight home victory and a nice milestone for Grant.

“For me, I’ve had the good fortune of having a lot of good players,” said Grant of his 300 wins. “I have a chance to work with a lot of great staff. That’s what I think about. I didn’t know about it until today.

“Yeah, I’m thankful and grateful I’ve been able to do this job long enough to get 300,” he added.

Camara was upset with the two free throws he missed late in the game because he knew what he needed for 1,000.

“My 100th game? It’s huge, it’s huge,” said Camara. “I’m mad I missed two free throws that would given me 1,000 points. I’ve been in college four years and they went by so fast, been through great experiences and enjoyed and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.”

Grant can get his 301st win, Camara can get his 1,000th point and the Flyers can snag a victory Wednesday night that would be a big plus on their resume.

It won’t be easy. It is at Virginia Tech and against Wright State transfer Grant Basile.

“A tough one?” said Grant. “They’re all tough. This one today was tough.”

WEDNESDAY’S GAME

Dayton at Virginia Tech, 8 p.m., ACC Network, 1290, 95.7

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