La Salle kills Dayton’s NCAA at-large hopes with second-half comeback

Explorers win their third A-10 game while handing Dayton its third loss by two points or fewer in conference play

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Koby Brea missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Dayton Flyers suffered their worst loss since the opening weeks of the season, falling 62-60 against La Salle on Saturday afternoon at Tom Gola Arena.

La Salle fans chanted “NIT” at Dayton after the miss by Brea because Dayton’s already-slim but improving NCAA tournament at-large chances took a major and likely fatal hit as it lost to a team ranked 246th in the NCAA Evaluation Tool.

The loss likely also kills Dayton’s A-10 regular-season championship hopes. With two games to play against Richmond and Davidson, the Flyers (20-9, 12-4) trail Davidson by 1½ games, and it’ll be a two-game deficit if Davidson beats Fordham on Saturday.

Dayton blew a 15-point lead in the second half. La Salle scored 29 points in 10 minutes to turn a 36-21 deficit into a 50-43 lead.

Still, the Flyers had a chance to tie the game in the final minute. DaRon Holmes II made 1 of 2 free throws to cut the deficit to 61-60 with 41 seconds to play. Holmes then blocked a 3-point attempt as the shot clock expired for La Salle.

Dayton called timeout for its final possession, and Brea missed the 3. There was a minor scuffle after La Salle grabbed the rebound, and R.J. Blakney and one La Salle player received technical fouls. Officials put 0.1 seconds on the clock, and La Salle’s Clifton Moore, who was fouled after grabbing the rebound on Brea’s miss, made 1 of 2 free throws to end the game.

Holmes and Brea each scored 18 points to lead the Flyers, who shot 26.3 percent from 3-point range, ending a five-game stretch in which they topped 45 percent each game.

Khalil Brantley scored 17 points off the bench for La Salle, and Moore had 16 on his Senior Day. La Salle (8-18, 3-13) beat Dayton for the second straight season and for the fifth time in the last six tries at Tom Gola Arena.


Holmes scored 11 points to lead the Dayton Flyers to a 30-19 halftime lead against La Salle on Saturday afternoon at UD Arena.

Dayton trailed 14-13 with 8:32 left and outscored La Salle 16-6 the rest of the way. The Flyers shot 48% from the field (12 of 25) and held La Salle to 25% shooting (7 of 28). The teams combined to make 3 of 21 3-pointers. Dayton missed six straight after Mustapha Amzil made one in the opening minutes.

Amzil started in place of Toumani Camara. According to WHIO’s Larry Hansgen, Camara did not practice Friday and was a game-time decision Saturday. He’s “banged up,” Hansgen said.

Camara’s absence meant early minutes for Zimi Nwokeji, who had two points in 12 minutes. It’s his most extensive playing time in the first half this season.

Koby Brea scored six points off the bench. Malachi Smith had five points.

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