The Flyers men’s basketball team huddles during their 64-54 win over UIC at UD Arena on Nov. 9. Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta, Flyer News.
Peter Burtnett | Sports Editor
In a rematch of last year’s buzzer-beating loss at UD Arena, the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team lost 77-69 on Wednesday at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas.
The Flyers quickly jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but turned the ball over twice and missed four straight shots from the field as the Mustangs tied the game at 6 with 15:02 left in the first half.
Both teams kept pace, and Dayton held a thin 13-12 lead at the under-12 media timeout with 10:51 remaining, and had scoring from six different players but also had four turnovers.
Shot-for-shot was exchanged by the Flyers and Mustangs as the home team took a narrow 25-24 lead with 5:32 left in the half. SMU also had a variety of scorers, with five players on the scoresheet and Zhuric Phelps leading the way with 9 points.
On offense, the Flyers went ice cold over the next three minutes, missing four consecutive shots and turning the ball over once as the Mustangs pushed ahead 29-24 with 3:18 remaining in the first half.
Freshman forward DaRon Holmes II ended the scoreless run of 4:25 with a jumper and then threw down a dunk, but Michael Weathers responded with a dunk of his own just before halftime to put the Mustangs up 36-28 at halftime.
At the break, the Flyers were shooting a decent 12-28 from the field, the Mustangs were 15-30 from the field and 3-6 from three. The Flyers also finished with six first-half turnovers to four for the Mustangs, who outscored UD 8-4 on points off turnovers.
The Flyers made four of seven field goals to start the second half, but were unable to stop the Mustangs and trailed 46-37 with 14:44 left in the half.
SMU pushed ahead even more with a layup and three-pointer to force Dayton to call timeout trailing 51-39 with 13:07 remaining in the game.
Phelps intercepted a pass and took the ball down the other way and slammed home a dunk to put the Mustangs up 58-43 with 10:02 left in the game.
Down by 15, the Flyers needed a spark to get back into the game. Tristan Clark was called for a hook-and-hold flagrant 1, and after sophomore forward Toumani Camara split a pair of free throws, Holmes II threw down another dunk to cut the deficit to a dozen.
Holmes II then converted a three-point play after being fouled on a layup to trim the deficit back to single digits.
But when the under-8 media timeout arrived with 7:57 remaining, the Mustangs had knocked down a pair of free throws to increase their lead to 60-49.
Kendric Davis made a layup and then drilled a three over freshman guard Malachi Smith to increase the Mustangs’ lead back up to 15. Sophomore forward Mustapha Amzil knocked down both free throws of a one-and-one to trim the deficit to 65-52 before a Dayton timeout with 6:32 remaining.
After exchanging basket-for-basket, Amzil made a three to trim the SMU lead to 70-60 with three minutes left for Dayton to make a comeback.
The Flyers held the Mustangs scoreless as they slowly chiseled back into the game with two free throws by redshirt junior guard Elijah Weaver and a layup by Smith to cut the deficit to 70-64 with 49 seconds left, when SMU called a timeout.
Clark missed a one-and-one free throw, and Amzil quickly knocked down a three to cut the deficit to three with 42.5 seconds left. The Flyers called a timeout on a 10-0 run, needing a stop and a three to force overtime.
UD fouled intentionally after five seconds came off the clock, and Michael Weathers made both to increase the lead to 72-67. Amzil missed a contested corner three, and with 28.4 seconds left, Weathers went to the line again.
Weathers made both again, and although Weaver was fouled and made both free throws with 21.9 seconds left, the Mustangs took seven more seconds off the clock before they were fouled and Clark split the free throws.
Smith rebounded the second, but missed a three, and the Mustangs went to the line again with 7.1 seconds left and Clark put the game fully out of reach by knocking down both free throws to give SMU a 77-69 win.
The big difference in the game was on three pointers, as the Mustangs finished 8-14 and the Flyers shot just 6-22.
With the loss, the Flyers’ five-game winning streak comes to an end and they fall to 6-4. Next up for the Flyers is Virginia Tech at home on Sunday at 2 p.m. at UD Arena.