Nwokeji’s 29 points not enough as Flyers fall 91-89 in double overtime thriller at Rhode Island

Redshirt freshman forward Zimi Nwokeji (picture from 67-56 win over Rhode Island Jan. 30 ) scored a career-high 29 points, but it was not enough, as the Flyers blew an 18-point lead and fell to the Rams in double overtime. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn, Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

The Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team fell 91-89 in a double overtime thriller at Rhode Island on Tuesday night, spoiling the career night for redshirt freshman Zimi Nwokeji and the return of redshirt senior guard Rodney Chatman from injury.

Chatman, returning from an injury after missing the last six weeks due to right hand surgery on Jan. 6, scored 7 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds off the bench.

Rhode Island raced out with a 7-0 run to start the game, but most of the first half was a back-and-forth battle before Dayton opened up a 34-24 lead with 1:46 left in the half.

The Rams cut into the deficit to make it a 34-28 Flyers lead, but the Flyers, led by Nwokeji  – 12 points, 6 rebounds – finished the first half shooting 40 percent from the field while the Rams shot just 29.4 percent. 

The Flyers controlled most of the second half, opening up an 18-point lead with 10:23 remaining, and holding a 68-63 lead with 3:27 left. But like the end of the VCU game on Feb. 10 (last 4:41 without a single point), the Flyers were outscored 6-1 over the final three-and-a-half minutes, as the game went into overtime tied at 69.

In the first overtime, the teams exchanged baskets and stayed even, as the score was locked at 78 each heading into the second overtime.

The second overtime continued the back-and-forth battle, and down by two with 3 seconds left, redshirt senior guard Jalen Crutcher had a chance to tie the game and likely send it to a third overtime.

Crutcher – who finished with 22 points and 5 assists – made the first but failed to tie the game, and the Flyers fell to 11-7 and 7-6 in A10 play with a 91-89 loss.

Nwokeji finished with 29 points – blasting past his previous career high of 10 – and 9 rebounds. 

The Flyers’ next game will be on Friday at 7 p.m. against Saint Louis at UD Arena.

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