University Of Dayton Flyers

UD overcomes cold shooting to take down Nevada, 63-60, in NCAA Tournament play

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The University of Dayton Flyers bounced back from a flat first half Thursday afternoon to defeat the University of Nevada, 63-60, in the First Round of the 2024 men’s NCAA Tournament.

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Nevada turned over the ball and fouled Nate Santos with 15.5 seconds left in regulation. He hit both free throws to seal the Dayton victory at 63-60.

UD fought back from a deficit that grew to 17 at one point to take a 61-60 lead on a Santos short banker off glass with 36 seconds remaining in regulation.

DaRon Holmes II finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Santos and Kobe Brea each scored 12 points.

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The Flyers fell behind by 13 in the first four minutes of the second half, 40-29. UD continued to miss shot after shot as Nevada’s lead grew to as many as 17 until UD knocked down two 3-point jumpers to cut the deficit to three, at 56-53, with under 3 minutes remaining in regulation. Kobe Brea hit a 3-point jumper to tie the game at 56 with 2:42 left. Nevada hit a 3-pointer to answer, then Holmes managed to coax in a shot from the floor and hit a free throw to give Dayton a 59-58 lead with 2:01 remaining in regulation.

The Wolf Pack, the No. 10 seed in the West Region, hit a fall away jumper with the game clocking draining to zeroes in the first half to send the Mountain West Conference team to the locker room with a 34-25 lead. Dayton shot 42% for the half while committing only two turnovers. The team was 3 of 12 from the three-point line. DaRon Holmes II put in 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in that first stanza.

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UD, the No. 7 seed, came into the matchup at the Delta Center ranked No. 24 in last week’s AP and Coaches polls and losers in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament on March 13 in Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday’s game was the first in the March Madness tournament for Dayton since 2017, when they lost in the first round to Wichita State. The Flyers were headed to the 2020 tournament as a No. 1 seed, but that trip was derailed because of the covid pandemic.

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The UD-Nevada game was UD’s 19th NCAA appearance. The Flyers have reached the Final Four once (1967), the Elite Eight three times (1967, 1984 and 2014), and the Sweet Sixteen seven times (1952, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1974, 1984 and 2014). Dayton reached the NCAA championship game in 1967, losing to the first of the Lew Alcindor UCLA teams. Head Coach Anthony Grant played on the 1984 team.

UD improves to 25-7 on the season. Nevada finishes at 26-8.

The Flyers advance to play Arizona on Saturday. The Wildcats defeated Long Beach State, 85-65, Thursday afternoon.

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