Flyers fall to Patriots in rare A10 home-court loss

DaRon Holmes II driving against George Mason’s Josh Oduro in the Feb. 25 home game against the Patriots. Photo by Keegan Gupta, director of digital media and photography.

Max Cross | Sports Editor

Late-season momentum the Dayton Flyers built with a four-game winning streak dissolved away Saturday with a 74-69 loss to George Mason at UD Arena.

The Patriots became the first Atlantic 10 conference team not named Virginia Commonwealth to beat the Flyers on their home court since La Salle back on Dec. 30, 2020. 

The Flyers had won 20 straight home games against the rest of the Atlantic 10 conference.

With the loss, Dayton (19-10, 11-5) handed Virginia Commonwealth (22-7, 13-3) a share of the A-10 regular season title. VCU leads Dayton and Saint Louis (19-10, 11-5) by two games with two games remaining in conference play.

Dayton forward DaRon Holmes II scored a career-high 34 points on 11-of-17 shooting but missed two free throws in the final minute that would have tied the game. He also turned the ball over on an in-bound pass with four seconds left when Dayton faced a three-point deficit.

The game was tied at 25-25 with five minutes to play in the first half after a basket by Holmes. The Patriots went on an 8-1 run to make it 33-26.

Holmes scored in the final seconds of the first half off a pass from Malachi Smith, but that was the only field goal of the last five minutes for the Dayton Flyers, who trailed George Mason 33-28 at halftime.

Toumani Camera and Koby Brea each finished with 9 points for the Flyers. Besides Holmes, no other player scored in double figures. Smith and Kobe Elvis each had 6 points. Mike Sharavjamts added 5 points, including a three pointer late in the second half. 

The Flyers finished the first half shooting 48%, while the Patriots shot 25 of 43 rom the field. 

George Mason shot 58.1% from the field, becoming the first opponent to shoot better than 50% against Dayton this season. 

Down 68-66, Dayton had a chance to tie the game, but Smith turned the ball over on a pass under the basket with 10 seconds remaining

Ronald Polite III led the Patriots, scoring 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 2-of-3 from three-point range. 

The Flyers had multiple missed opportunities, especially at the free throw line. Dayton shot 59.3% (16 of 27) from the line. Holmes made 12 of 18. George Mason made 17 of 23 (73.9%).

George Mason ended the game making its last 7 shots from the field.  

Sharavjamts returned to the rotation after missing the game Wednesday at UMass with an illness. This is only the second game this season Dayton has had a fully healthy roster available. The Flyers are 0-2 when everyone is healthy. 

Dayton plays its final home game on Tuesday against La Salle (13-15, 7-8). Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

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