The Dayton Flyers followed a familiar script in the final game of the 2018-19 season, fading in the final minutes and losing 78-73 to Colorado in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday at the CU Events Center.
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Dayton led 63-62 after a 3-pointer by Ryan Mikesell with 6:46 to play, gave up the lead on the next possession and never led again.
No. 5 seed Dayton faced a 66-65 deficit entering the final five minutes and was out scored 8-0 in the next three minutes as the fourth-seeded Buffaloes (22-12) clinched the victory.
Dayton finished Anthony Grant’s second season with a 21-12 mark. The Flyers suffered their seventh straight postseason loss since a quarterfinal A-10 tournament victory in 2016.
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Obi Toppin led the Flyers with 21 points and scored Dayton’s last points on a windmill dunk in the final seconds. He also scored the first points of the season on a dunk.
Dayton shot 54.5 percent from the field but gave up 10 offensive rebounds and had four more turnovers than Colorado (11-7). The Buffaloes made 8 of 21 3-pointers.
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Colorado will play No. 1 seed Alabama or No. 8 Norfolk State in the second round at a date to be determined.
The Flyers led by as many as eight points in the first half but trailed 37-35 at halftime.
Toppin made 5 of 7 shots, including 2 of 3 3-pointers, to score 13 points for the Flyers. Crutcher added seven. Trey Landers scored six.
Tyler Bey scored 10 points for Colorado. Former Dayton recruit McKinley Wright had five points.
Dayton shot 61 percent from the field, while Colorado shot 41.2 percent, but the Buffaloes took nine more shots thanks to advantages in offensive rebounds and turnovers. Colorado grabbed eight offensive rebounds to Dayton’s two, while the Flyers committed nine turnovers to Colorado’s five.
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Dayton led 23-15 midway through the half and 30-23 with 5:52 to play. Colorado then began a 14-3 run to take a 37-33 lead. Dayton’s Dwayne Cohill hit a jump shot at the buzzer to cut the deficit to two.
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