Nevada’s Alford coaches against Dayton for third time

Flyers, Wolf Pack play at 4:30 p.m. Thursday

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Nevada coach Steve Alford grew up 75 miles from Dayton in New Castle, Ind. He knew about the Dayton Flyers growing up but never attended coach Don Donoher’s camps at UD. He started going to Bobby Knight’s camps at Indiana when he was in third grade and always wanted to be a Hoosier.

Alford made the right decision if the 2,438 points he scored in his college career and the 1987 national championship Indiana won when he was a senior are any indication.

“I knew about Dayton a lot,” Alford said Wednesday during a press conference at the Delta Center, “but didn’t really become familiar with it until ‘84.”

That was year Alford played for Knight with the U.S. Olympic team. Don Donoher, Dayton’s winningest coach, was an assistant on Knight’s staff. Alford reconnected with Donoher last year when Nevada played in the First Four at UD Arena.

“It was great getting to see Coach,” Alford said, “and spend some time with Coach when I was there for the tournament last year. Just incredible respect for Coach Donoher, what he’s meant not just for the university but what he’s done for the game of basketball over his entire lifetime.”

Alford and Nevada, the No. 10 seed in the West Region, play Dayton at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament. It will be the third time Alford has coached against Dayton.

• On Jan. 1, 2010, when Alford was at New Mexico, his team beat Dayton 68-66 in Albuquerque, N.M.

• The following season, on Jan. 1, 2011, Dayton beat Alford and New Mexico 76-73 in double overtime at UD Arena.

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