Dayton v. Arizona Men’s Basketball game recap

Pictured is DaRon Holmes II during the game against Fordham earlier this past season. Photo courtesy of Olivia Shirk for Flyer News.

The Dayton Flyers’ season comes to a heartbreaking end after a hard-fought 78-68 loss at the hands of the number 2 seed, Arizona Wildcats. 

The game started hot with a Daron Holmes II 15-foot jumper, followed by a thunderous slam by the Wildcats. The Flyers and Wildcats went back-and-forth for most of the beginning of the game with the score being 9-8 Arizona after 4 minutes. The Wildcats would go on an 8-0 run after the first TV timeout bringing the score to 17-8 Arizona. Dayton’s offense would continue to stay stagnant for most of the first half, while Arizona’s Caleb Love would get hot. The Pac-12 Player of the Year and a Naismith Award semifinalist had 13 points in the first half and was a big part of Arizona building their lead to 17 with 4 minutes left to play in the first half. 

Being down 17 is not unfamiliar to this Flyer squad. Thursday against Nevada the Flyers found themselves down this seemingly insurmountable deficit with just 7 minutes to play, before going on a 24-4 run to finish and win the game. History would repeat itself today after going down 17 the Flyers would go on a 13-3 run to end the half and cut the lead to 7. 

The start of the second half played very similar to the end of the first. The Flyers kept close early and with 11 minutes left to play a Koby Brea three would bring Dayton to within three. This is as close as the game would get, as Arizona’s firepower proved too much for the Flyers. The big X-factor for the Wildcats was sophomore Jaden Bradley. Off the bench, he had 12 points and made huge plays down the stretch to extend Arizona’s league. 

At the end of the game, the Flyers had dug themselves in too deep of a hole against too good of a team. Two Caleb Love free throws with 16 seconds left moved the lead to 10 and iced the game in favor of the Wildcats. 

Daron Holmes II, in what could have been his last game in a Flyer uniform, had another massive day leading the team with 23 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Koby Brea with 14 points, making four threes while shooting 4/8 from downtown. Arizona’s Caleb Love led the Wildcats with 19 points and 5 assists. Arizona will face the winner of Clemson vs. Baylor in the Sweet 16.

The Flyers had one of their best seasons ever finishing 25-8 and making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015. Head coach Anthony Grant had this to say about his team after the game, “These guys did an unbelievable job all season. We are grateful for this opportunity. Our guys just ever quit. They never gave up. I am extremely proud of our guys.” 

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Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper