The Dayton Flyers suffered their worst loss in recent memory, falling 55-54 to Fordham at Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx, N.Y., on Tuesday.
After a go-ahead basket by Dayton’s Elijah Weaver, Chris Austin made a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining to give Fordham the lead. Ibi Watson then missed a jump shot at the buzzer as Fordham ended a 16-game losing streak to Dayton, beating the Flyers for the first time since Jan. 4, 2006. Dayton leads the all-time series 32-6.
In his postgame interview with Larry Hansgen on WHIO Radio, Anthony Grant said it was an understatement to call it a disappointing loss.
“As the head coach, that’s on me,” Grant said. “I’ve got to find a way to make sure we’ve got guys who are ready to play and understand what it takes and what it means when you wear that Dayton uniform.”
Dayton’s offense struggled throughout the night, and Grant brought the team out of the locker room early at halftime to walk through some plays.
“We’ve got some guys that have limited reps in terms of what we’re doing offensively,” Grant said. “We wanted to see if we couldn’t get them to understand how to take advantage of some things Fordham is doing. We could never find the rhythm offensively. The numbers show that.”
The Flyers (5-3, 1-2) lost in part because they shot 17.4 percent from 3-point range (4 of 22). Fordham (1-2, 1-2) made 9 of 18 3-pointers. Seventeen turnovers, a number of them charge calls, also hurt Dayton.
Jalen Crutcher led Dayton with 14 points. Mustapha Amzil scored 10. Austin made 5 of 9 3-pointers and scored 20 points.
Dayton led 43-39 with 8:55 to play when Fordham began an 11-2 run. The Rams took the lead on a four-point play by Chris Austin at the 7:37 mark. Josh Navarro made a 3-pointer on the next possession as Fordham took a 48-43 lead.
Dayton trailed 50-45 when Watson scored five straight points. Then Crutcher scored on a layup to put the Flyers back on top, 52-45 with 2:09 to play. A layup by Fordham’s Josh Navarro tied the game with 54 seconds left.
It was a close game throughout the first half. Dayton trailed only once, 2-0, but never led by more than five points.
Turnovers, Dayton’s biggest weakness all season, prevented it from building a bigger lead in the first half. The Flyers had 11 at halftime.
Crutcher led Dayton with nine points at halftime. Mustapha Amzil made two early 3-pointers and scored six. Zimi Nwokeji, who dunked for the first time in his career off an assist from Crutcher, and Jordy Tshimanga each scored five.
The Flyers outscored Fordham 7-2 in the final four minutes to take a 27-24 halftime lead. This was the closest game in the series at halftime since Dayton and Fordham were tied at 39-39 in 2017 at Rose Hill Gym.
NOTES: Dayton’s depth received a boost when Elijah Weaver returned to action after missing the first two A-10 games with an undisclosed injury. He was the first player off the bench four minutes into the first half. This was his second appearance since all transfers were granted eligibility by the NCAA on Dec. 16.
• Freshman guard Koby Brea made his second straight start in place of Rodney Chatman, who missed his second straight game with a hand injury. Brea, a native of the Bronx, played about five miles from where he attended high school at Monsignor Scanlan.
• Amzil and Makira Cook, of the women’s team, swept the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week awards Monday. Amzil, a 6-foot-10 freshman forward from Finland, averaged 18.5 points in his first two games. Cook, a 5-6 guard from Hamilton, averaged 11 points in two games.
Dayton at Davidson, 9 p.m., ESPN2, 1290, 95.7