Washington D.C. — The Dayton Flyers suffered a heart breaking loss Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship to the Richmond Spiders, 68-64, in Washington D.C.
UD freshmen point guard Malachi Smith suffered an ankle injury right before halftime with the team leading, 33-25, and did not play in the second half. The Flyers led at one point by as fifteen points, 42-27, in the second half and had 52-39 lead with under 12 minutes left in the game but went over six minutes without a point and was outscored, 20-7, over a nearly ten minute stretch of the second half.
Toumani Camara had a double-double to lead Dayton; 17 points and 14 rebounds while DaRon Holmes II added 15. Koby Brea had 10 points. Before getting hurt, Smith had seven points, two assists and two steals in over seventeen minutes of action. UD shot 52 percent in the first (14-27) but only 11-27 in the second half. The Flyers fall to 23-10 overall.
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Richmond got 18 points by Grant Golden and Tyler Burton added 16. Grant Grace scored 12 points off the bench and Jacob Gilyard had 11 points and five assists. The Spiders will play Davidson on Sunday at 1 pm in the finals of the Atlantic 10 Championship, the winner will get the conference’s automatic bid.
Dayton jumped out to a 9-2 lead to start the game and led all throughout the first half. They stretched the lead to as much ten points, 31-21, after five straight points by Koby Brea. UD led, 33-25, and had a chance for more points before halftime. Mali Smith missed a layup but got the steal and Holmes missed as the first half ended. Smith was hurt on the last play of the half and did not return.
UD extended the lead to as much as 15 points, 42-27, after a three-point play by Toumani Camara. Holmes’ layup put the Flyers up, 52-39, with 12:04 left. Richmond scored 11 straight points over a six-plus minute stretch to cut Dayton’s advantage to 52-50. Holmes ended the scoring drought with two free throws and Brea’s trey put Dayton up, 57-53, with 5:14 left.
The game was tied at 59 apiece when Grant Grace’s three put Richmond up for good, 62-59, with 1:40 to play. Mustapha Amzil’s two free throws cut it to 62-61 with 1:17 left but Grant Golden scored to put the Spiders back ahead, 64-61, with 56 seconds left. Koby Brea missed a potential game tying trey with 38 seconds left and the Spiders sealed the game with four foul shots.
Dayton will find out their postseason fate on Sunday.
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