The Dayton Flyers looked poised for their first Atlantic 10 tournament victory in two years, leading 70-65 with three minutes to play.
However, No. 8 seed Virginia Commonwealth ended the game on a 12-2 run to beat the No. 9 seed Flyers 77-72 at Capital One Arena. VCU will play No. 1 seed Rhode Island in the quarterfinals at noon Friday.
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Dayton (14-17) suffered its first losing season since 2006 and exited the conference tournament in its first game for the second straight season. The loss ends Dayton’s small hope of extending its four-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances.
Dayton took a 70-65 lead on a basket by Trey Landers at the 3:16 mark. A 3-pointer by VCU’s De’Riante Jenkins and a layup by Isaac Vann tied the score. The Rams took the lead on a basket by Jonathan Williams with 56 seconds to play.
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Dayton turned the ball over with 34 seconds left. A lob pass to Josh Cunningham was knocked away under the basket.
Landers led Dayton with 19 points. Josh Cunningham scored 17. Darrell Davis had 14 points. He reached the 1,000-point milestone in his final game.
The Dayton Flyers scored the last four points of the first half on a layup by Kostas Antetokounmpo and a dunk by Josh Cunningham to cut Virginia Commonwealth’s lead to 38-33 on Thursday in the second round of the Atlantic 10 tournament at Capital One Arena.
Dayton’s star: Cunningham made 5 of 7 shots from the field and scored 10 points.
VCU’s star: Mike’l Simms leads the Rams with seven points.
Key stat: Dayton made 2 of 11 3-pointers. VCU made 5 of 15.
Milestone watch: Darrell Davis scored five points for Dayton. He’s one away from 1,000 in his career.
Big run: Dayton took its first lead, 21-20, and then gave up nine straight points.