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DAYTON, Ohio - The University of Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team topped the Arkansas State Red Wolves 74-61 in the season opener for both squads. The Flyers (1-0) were led by junior Vee Sanford with a career-high of 18 points. Sanford, playing in his first game as a Flyer after sitting out last season due to transferring, converted 7-of-10 shots, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Sanford’s backcourt mate, senior Kevin Dillard, scored all 12 of his points in the second half en route to a double-double of 12 points and 10 assists. Dillard also added six rebounds and a block. Senior Josh Benson was the other Flyer in double-figures as he scored 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and hauled in eight rebounds.
Junior Devin Oliver added eight points on 3-of-4 shooting and chipped in a career-high five assists. Freshman Jalen Robinson, in his first collegiate start, netted seven points. In 10 minutes of action, freshman Dyshawn Pierre scored five points and hauled in six rebounds.
The Red Wolves opened the game on a 5-0 run with 18:06 left in the first half, but UD responded with a 7-0 run over the next three minutes and six seconds. The Flyers managed to take a 7-5 lead after sophomore Alex Gavrilovic converted a turn-around hook shot in the paint.
Dyshawn Pierre made an immediate impact when he entered in the game early in the first half. The freshman forward drained a three from the corner after a cross-court pass by sophomore Matt Derenbecker. The three-pointer gave the Flyers a 13-7 lead with 13:22 left in the first half. Pierre then responded with another basket from the corner off a Dillard feed to give UD a 15-7 lead with 12:40 left in the first half. However, Arkansas State countered with an 8-0 run to tie it up at 15-15 with 10:24 remaining in the half.
After the Red Wolves took the lead 19-18 lead with 9:32 left in the first half, Sanford and the Flyers went on an 11-0 run over the next three minutes and 13 seconds to regain control of the game. During that sequence, Sanford drained a three and then followed that with a fast break dunk. UD led Arkansas State 34-27 at the half as both teams headed to the locker room.
UD started the second half with a 10-2 run, which included two bucket-and-a-foul combos (one each from Robinson and Sanford) to give the Flyers a 44-29 lead with 17:50 left.
Arkansas State cut the Flyer lead to 58-49 after a 10-2 run during a span of four minutes and 38 seconds. The smallest lead UD had in the second half was nine points.
Overall, the Flyers shot 28-of-53 from the field (52.8%) while Arkansas State shot 22-of-56 (39.3%). UD shot 8-of-16 from beyond the arc (50.0%) while holding Arkansas State to just 6-of-22 (27.3%). Dayton had 20 assists and out-rebounded the Red Wolves 33-30. UD outscored ASU 30-18 in points in the paint and forced 15 Red Wolves’ turnovers.
Dayton will return to action on Thursday, Nov. 15 against the Colorado Buffaloes in the opening game of the Charleston Classic at 12:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.