Sibert saves Flyers in opener with last-second 3-pointer

Jordan Sibert had never hit a shot like this. Not when he was 5. Not when he was a senior at Cincinnati Princeton High School. Not when he was a freshman with the Buckeyes.

Even in his dreams — and he had a lot of time to think sitting on the bench last season after transferring from Ohio State — Sibert didn’t imagine his Dayton career starting like this. His 3-pointer with one second left gave the Flyers an 81-80 victory over IPFW on Saturday at UD Arena in the season opener for both teams.

Fans with their arms crossed across their chests seconds before, silently contemplating a devastating start to the season, found themselves on their feet marveling at November Madness as Sibert’s shot dropped through the net.

“I did want to move the crowd,” Sibert said. “That’s what we apparently were able to do. I give the credit to my teammates for that play. My shot was good, but the effort my teammates gave was great.”

A frustrating game for the Flyers ended with one of the craziest sequences you’ll see this season in college basketball.

With 6 seconds left, IPFW attempted a long in-bounds pass to mid-court. Dayton guard Khari Price outjumped teammate Vee Sanford and IPFW’s Michael Kibiloski. Price caught the ball and then belly-flopped near the Dayton Flyers logo.

Price pushed the ball forward to freshman Kyle Davis, who passed to Sibert. Nine seconds earlier, Sibert had clanked the first of two free throws when he needed to make both to tie the game.

“When Khari made that play, I thought to myself, ‘If I get a chance, I have to redeem myself for that free throw,’ ” Sibert said. “I know Kyle is a very unselfish player, just like Khari is. I knew if I could get to an open area I could make the shot.”

Sibert finished with 10 points. Dyshawn Pierre led the Flyers with 24. Price scored 17, making 4-of-5 3-pointers.

Dayton led by 11 in the first minute of the second half, only to see the lead shrink and then disappear as the Flyers scored 13 points in the first 12 minutes of the second half.

The Mastodons had their largest lead, 64-57, with 7:45 to play. It was a tie game with two minutes left when IPFW’s Isaiah McCray hit a 3-pointer. IPFW led 76-71 with 34 seconds left.

Fortunately for the Flyers, there was just enough time for an unlikely sequence of events.

“We were in this situation a lot last year, crazy situations where you’re down one possession or up one possession,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “We found the way to not get the result we wanted nine times out of 10. Today our team found a way to dig down through a lot of adversity. That’s the thing I’m most excited about.”

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