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.
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.
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.
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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