Everything was falling for the Dayton Flyers for a spell late in the first half Tuesday in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational. Obi Toppin made three 3-pointers in less than 90 seconds, breaking open a close game and starting a 20-5 run to end the half.
» FRIDAY FINAL: Flyers to play Kansas
Except for a couple of stretches, Dayton kept up that shooting pace. It shot 63.6 percent from the field and made 11 of 24 3-pointers (45.8 percent) in an 89-62 victory against Virginia Tech. The Flyers will play No. 4 Kansas in the championship game at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
It’s an understatement to say the Flyers love the rims at the Lahaina Civic Center.
“It’s a shooter’s gym for sure,” Dayton guard Ibi Watson said, “but I think it’s a credit to our offense and how we share the ball and want to see others succeed.”
» PHOTOS: Flyers vs. Hokies
Watson scored six points and made 1 of 4 3-pointers. His one made 3 came at a crucial moment. Virginia Tech was showing signs of starting a comeback, cutting the deficit to 64-50 with 7:57 remaining. Watson hit a 3-pointer on Dayton’s next possession, starting a 16-2 run.
“It was a good feeling,” Watson said. “My teammates did a good job of giving me confidence, telling me to shoot. Coach is telling me if I’ve got a look to let it go, and I just trusted in my preparation.”
That game-clinching run included three straight baskets by Obi Toppin, who led Dayton with 24 points, and then five straight points by Trey Landers, who scored 13.
“Coach Grant always preaches to us basketball is a game of runs,” Dayton guard Trey Landers said. “Virginia Tech is a really good team so you know they are going to come back with a punch. At the end of the day, we knew that was going to happen. It was all about us weathering the storm. We've had adversity before, and it was just about us facing that and us staying together. We did that as a team, and we went on a run again. And after that our defensive intensity just went through the roof, and I think that's what won us the game.”
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