DAYTON — Sophomore point guard Malachi Smith played his first game since injuring his ankle against BYU on November 25 and helped the Dayton Flyers to a 68-61 win Tuesday night at the UD Arena.
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Smith had missed the last 11 games due to his injury and UD went 9-2 without him. He came off the bench with 15:57 left in the first half to a standing ovation.
Mustapha Amzil led the Flyers with 19 points while Toumani Camara added 15. DaRon Holmes was limited to 4 points and played in only 22 minutes due to four fouls.
Dayton improves to 13-6 overall, 5-1 in the Atlantic 10.
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Smith entered the game after the under the 16 minute timeout with UD leading, 6-5. Desmond Watson’s three-pointer put the Wildcats ahead, 8-6. Davidson maintained the lead throughout the first half as they led, 32-29, at halftime.
The Flyers stormed out of the gates to start the second half on a 15-2 run. R.J. Blakney’s steal and dunk put them ahead, 35-34. Camara’s trey and pair of jumpers by Mike Sharavjamts gave them a 44-34 advantage.
Amzil’s layup gave Dayton their largest lead of the game, 50-38, with 10:58 remaining. But the Wildcats refused to go quietly as David Skogman’s trey got the Wildcats within six, 54-48. He added a pair of free throws as Davidson trailed, 56-52.
Koby Brea buried a three and Amzil’s three free throws extended the lead to 62-52 with 2:54 left. But the Wildcats stayed closed on a three-point play by Sam Mennenga and a basket by Watson to get closer, 62-57. But the Flyer made six free throws, including three by Smith, to pull away.
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Mike Sharavhamts had nine points and seven assists while R.J. Blakney and Koby Brea each scored eight points. The Flyers made 54% of their shots (25-46), including over 63% in the second half.
Dayton’s next game will be Saturday afternoon, January 21, when they travel to Washington D.C. to play the George Washington Colonials.
Tip-off is at 12:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on WHIO Radio. It will also be broadcast on WHIO.com.
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