DAYTON, Ohio - The University of Dayton Flyers prevailed over the La Salle University Explorers 79-75 behind a career-high 23 points by Matt Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh also hauled in nine rebounds and scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half while shooting 13-of-14 from the foul line for the game.
With the wiin the Flyers handed La Salle, the last undefeated team in Atlantic 10 play, its first conference loss. UD, 13-5 overall and 3-1 in the A-10, is tied for first in the league with UMass and Xavier. The Explorers dropped to 13-5 and 2-1 in the Atlantic 10.
Luke Fabrizius scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and a trio of Flyers: Kevin Dillard, Josh Parker and Alex Gavrilovic, each added nine points. The combination of Kavanaugh, Gavrilovic and Fabrizius combined to score 46 points.
Chris Johnson returned to the starting line-up after missing the last game at Saint Bonaventure due to a head injury. Flyer coach Archie Miller held him out of the second half as a precaution. He finished with five points and five rebounds.
UD got off to a hot start, as the Flyers scored the first seven points of the game within the first minute and a half. Dayton led 11-4 with 16:26 left in the first half after a pair of Kavanaugh free throws, but La Salle went on a 9-4 run, over the next three minutes and 55 seconds, to cut the lead to 15-13 with 12:31 until halftime. The Flyers went on a 9-4 run of their own over the next three minutes and 43 seconds to push the lead back to seven, 24-17, with 8:48 left in the half.
La Salle sliced the lead in the first half to 28-27 after a three-pointer by Earl Pettis, but UD responded with a three-pointer on three consecutive possessions, one each by Parker, Johnson and Dillard, to give the Flyers a 37-27 lead. UD led 40-29 at halftime.
Dayton led wire-to wire, but had to hold off a determined La Salle comeback late in the game. UD held a 15-point lead with 14:21 in the second half before La Salle cut the lead to single digits, 57 -48, after a three by Tyreek Duren with 11:44 left. The Explorers went on a 12-6 run over the span of two minutes and four seconds to slice the Flyer lead to 76-72 after a three-point play by Pettis with 1:56 remaining in the game.
Paul Williams was fouled on the inbounds pass by Duren with 1:52 left and made both free throws as Dayton was in the double bonus to push the lead to 78-72. Ramon Galloway hit a three from the wing with 1:40 left to cut the lead to 78-75. La Salle had a chance to tie the game with nine seconds left, but Sam Mills missed a three-point attempt from the top of the key. Parker made 1-of-2 free throws to secure the Flyers win.
Overall, UD shot 25-of-52 from the field (48.1%) while the Explorers shot 24-of-48 (50%). Dayton shot 15-of-24 (62.5%) in the first half. The Flyers outrebounded La Salle 35-27 and had 14 fast break points compared to just two for the Explorers. UD also held the advantage in bench points 23-6 and the Flyers’ 16 offensive rebounds gave them the edge in second-chance points 20-10.
UD is back in action next Saturday, Jan. 21 at UD Arena against the Xavier Musketeers. The game is sold out, and will be the 100th sellout in University of Dayton Arena history. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.and ESPN3.com.