Flyers men’s basketball fall on last-second SMU lay-up

Ibi Watson (No. 2) once again led the Flyers in scoring with 20 points, but his 3-pointer with 7 seconds remaining was not enough to send the Flyers into overtime after a Mustangs last-second lay-up. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn, Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

The University of Dayton men’s basketball team lost their first home game in 645 days, losing 66-64 on a last-second lay-up from SMU Saturday afternoon.

SMU junior guard Emmanuel Bandoumel found the bottom of the basket after the ball bounced off the rim a couple of times, leaving 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock. The buzzer originally sounded, but even after a review, 0.2 seconds and an attempted heave by Flyers’ senior guard Jalen Crutcher was not enough to save the Flyers from the grip of defeat. 

“Give the credit to SMU, I thought they were able to make a couple plays,” UD head coach Anthony Grant said. “Obviously the last play to end it. Throughout the game I thought it was a hard fought game, I thought both teams played extremely hard.

“You know, we had opportunities there that hopefully looking back on the game as much as it hurts to lose it will will be able to to learn from and get better and you know so yeah tough one. But, uh, I thought the effort tonight that we got was worthy of giving us a chance to win and hopefully we can grow from it.”

In the early stages of the game, both teams struggled to find a groove on offense, with the first points coming on two free throws from Bandoumel 1:43 into the game. The Flyers got on the board with a free throw from junior forward Chase Johnson with 17:54 left in the half.

However, Johnson continued his hot shooting from three to start the season (3-3 against EIU) with a 3-pointer to give the Flyers a 4-2 lead. Senior center Jordy Tshimanga and Crutcher added a couple of lay-ups, and took an 8-4 lead into the under-16 media timeout with 14:46 left in the first half.

A minute later, the score remained the same, with both teams now shooting an abysmal combined 4-17 from the field. The Flyers extended their lead to 10-4, but SMU came roaring back with a 7-0 run to take a 13-10 lead nine minutes into the game.

The Flyers went on their own run (9-2) over the next 3:18, but SMU got a jump shot in the paint to cut the Flyers’ lead to 19-15 at the under-8 media timeout with 7:15 left in the half.

The two teams generally exchanged baskets over the final seven minutes, with the Flyers taking a 32-27 lead into halftime. 

At the break, the Flyers were once again led by Johnson and senior guard Ibi Watson, who had 10 points each, and Tshimanga in the post, who had 8 rebounds at halftime. 

The Flyers’ turnover problems plagued the team all afternoon, and the Flyers turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, to 8 by the Mustangs. However, the Flyers shot the ball better, shooting 44 percent from the field compared to 32 percent for the Mustangs.

In the second half, the Flyers extended their lead to 40-30 three minutes into the half, the biggest lead of the game for either team. At the under-16 media timeout the Flyers led 42-34 with 15:31 left in the game.

Both teams exchanged baskets, and the Flyers held a six-point lead at the under-12 media timeout, 48-42 with 11:47 remaining.

After the media timeout, SMU junior guard Kendric Davis – averaging 21.3 points per game heading into Saturday’s game – knocked down a three, followed by a pair of free throws on the next possession to cut the Flyers’ lead to just one. 

Over the next few minutes, the teams went back-and-forth, with SMU senior forward Ethan Chargois knocking down a three-pointer, followed by UD senior guard Rodney Chatman, and then Chargois again to give the Mustangs a 55-53 lead at the under-8 media timeout with 6:51 remaining.

Tshimanga (2 free throws) and Watson (jumper) got four points back for the Flyers, but the Mustangs followed that with a 6-0 run, grabbing the lead right back and taking a 60-57 lead into the under-4 media timeout with 3:01 left.

Two Chatman free throws and a Watson driving lay-up flipped the game back in favor of the Flyers, but Watson lay-up with 2:22 would be the last Flyers points until there were 7 seconds left on the clock.

From the Flyers’ 61-60 lead, Bandoumel made a jumper and Davis knocked down two free throws to give the Mustangs the advantage at 64-61 with 19 seconds left.

On a designed play, Watson knocked down a three-pointer in the corner to tie the game at 64 with 7 seconds left, seemingly sending the game into overtime.

“Yeah, good screening by Jordy and Chase and a good pass,” Watson said.

However, the Flyers defense focused on Davis, the Mustangs’ leading scorer who finished with 21 points, and allowed Bandoumel to drive into the paint and hoist up a lay-up that bounced off the rim a couple of times before finding the net to give the Mustangs the victory.

“The last thing I saw (Bandoumel) just threw it up,” Johnson said. “And it just happened to go in. So it just kind of upset me.”

Johnson added after the game that team defense is something they need to work on for next game.

“We’ll fix it, we’ll be back in the next game for sure,” Johnson said. “The guys are upset and it’s just kind of fuel to the fire, so we’re just getting ready for the next one.”

The Flyers were led by Watson (20) and Johnson (14) in scoring for the second straight game, and Tshimanga added 12 rebounds. Crutcher remained relatively quiet with 10 points on 3-8 shooting. Turnovers were a big problem for the Flyers, who turned the ball over 19 times to SMU’s 14.

Watson had trouble finding positives after the loss, but credits his coaches and teammates with his continued success scoring.

“Just continue to trust my teammates, you know, all the credit goes to them and coach Grant, getting us in a good offense, good places to succeed,” Watson said. “Luckily I play with two of the, in my opinion, best point guards in the country, so they make my life easy. I just try to space the floor and make their lives easy too. It’s hard to find positives from this (loss), but we’ll watch the film and we’ll go from this.”

In the second half, SMU jumped to 44 percent from the field shooting 32 percent in the first half.

“We just have to match that same intensity we had in the first half,” Watson said. “We gotta make sure we bring that to the second half. Maintain and do all the little things that we know that our game plan had put in place so, you know, we just have to be able to put together 40 minutes instead of just a good half or good 30 minutes.”

Grant added the team needs to do better against allowing second chance points and play better in transition off turnovers.

“There’s a lot of different ways you evaluate yourself defensively,” Grant said. “Some of it could be we need to do a better job defensively, some of it could be we need to do a better job offensively. Some of it could be, you know, our first shot defense is pretty good, then the second shot defense hurts you. So there’s a lot of different variables that go into being a good defensive team.”

The loss was the Flyers’ first since Dec. 21, 2019, a 78-76 overtime loss to Colorado in Chicago, and their first home loss since March 1, 2019, a 72-70 overtime loss to Rhode Island. It snaps the second-longest Division I winning streak at 21 games, and sends the Flyers to 1-1 and the Mustangs to 4-0. 

As of Saturday evening, the Flyers will face Northern Kentucky on Tuesday at UD Arena at 7 p.m.

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