ESPN Events Invitational: Dayton will play Belmont for championship Sunday

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DaRon Holmes II interview: Nov. 26, 2021

It will be the first meeting between the two programs

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The championship game of the ESPN Events Invitational is set.

The Dayton Flyers (3-3) will play Belmont University (5-2) at 4 p.m. Sunday at HP Fieldhouse. The game will air on ESPN2.

» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Kansas

Belmont beat Iona 72-65 in the final game on the second day of the event Friday. Earlier in the day, Dayton beat No. 4 Kansas 74-73 on a buzzer-beater by Mustapha Amzil.

Dayton and Belmont, which is located in Nashville, Tenn., have never played. Dayton is 56-14 against the Ohio Valley Conference. That includes an 87-81 loss last Saturday to Austin Peay at UD Arena.

Belmont was the preseason favorite in the OVC. Austin Peay was picked to finish sixth out of 10 teams.

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Malachi Smith interview: Nov. 26, 2021

» NOTES: Smith has been ‘really, really good’ for Dayton

Belmont is an OVC powerhouse. It has won seven conference championships in nine seasons.

Last season, Belmont finished 26-4. It is one of four Division I programs to win 20 games or more in the last 11 seasons. The others are Gonzaga, Kansas and Oregon.

Belmont will also be the second team from Nashville the Flyers have played in the first month of the season. They lost 78-59 to Lipscomb at UD Arena on Nov. 17 at UD Arena. Belmont’s coach, Casey Alexander, coached Lipscomb for six seasons before moving to Belmont in the 2019-20 season.

Belmont ranks 69th in the Ken Pomeroy ratings. Dayton is No. 111.

Dayton seek its first championship in a November tournament since 2011 when it won the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.

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

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