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CINCINNATI – Four Flyers scored in double figures as the University of Dayton picked up an 81-66 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Marcus Johnson led the balanced offensive attack with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and hitting 6-of-7 shots at the free throw line.
Rob Lowery scored 13 points, Chris Wright and Paul Williams tallied 11 points apiece as Dayton improved to 22-12 overall.
The Flyers will move to the NIT Quarterfinals to face the Illinois Fighting Illini in Champaign, Ill. The quarterfinal game will take place on Wednesday, March 24 at 9 p.m. ET and be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Wearing their black uniforms for the first time this season, Dayton played solid on both ends of the floor. UD held Cincinnati to 33 percent shooting from the field with the Bearcats connecting on just 6-of-31 three-pointers. Meanwhile the Flyers shot 48 percent from the field and hit 10 field goals from three-point range.
On the glass, Dayton held a 42-34 advantage and corralled 12 offensive rebounds. The key stat of the game for UD was scoring 18 second chance points.
The key stretch for Dayton came midway through the second half when the Flyer defense held Cincinnati without a field goal for just over six minutes. During that span the Flyers got a Williams three-pointer, a Devin Searcy dunk and Marcus Johnson and Luke Fabrizius each connecting on a mid-range jumpers to put Dayton back ahead by double figures 63-53 with 6:24 to play.
The Flyers took advantage of some hot outside shooting and Cincinnati’s foul troubles in the first half. Dayton led 41-36 and opened the game hitting eight of their first 12 shots from three-point range. The Flyers finished with nine converted three-pointers, a first half season-high.
In the first half Lowery scored nine, Williams had eight and Wright added six. At one point Dayton was up 38-23, but Cincinnati went on a 9-0 to cut the deficit to six.
Other contributors for Dayton included London Warren with eight rebounds, Chris Johnson tallying seven points and seven boards and Mickey Perry scoring six.
Warren and Kurt Huelsman also set the all-time record for career games played in a Flyer uniform.
Lowery finished the game shooting 4-of-8 from the field, while Williams went 4-for-7 from the outside and Wright adding five rebounds and three steals to his stat line.
University of Dayton
Brian Gregory, Head Coach
“Very proud of our team, and the effort that they played with tonight against a really good team. They have played exceptionally well, and Cincinnati had a great run in their BIG EAST tournament. We needed a team effort defensively and on the glass. You can say a lot about our guys, but they just keep competing, playing hard, and keep fighting. These two guys are prime examples of that. They have stuck together in some tough times. We were able to advance and stick around these guys a few days longer. It is really good to see.”
On Wearing Black Uniforms
“I decided our guys weren’t playing well enough. Our guys talked into going into this game with something different. You know me well enough that the tradition of our program is very important. Our guys are young and want to have fun, and it looks great. The Dayton really pops on the television. People will be talking about how good it looks. We’ll wear the black as well on Wednesday. The guys were really excited when I told them, and they just have to get washed.”
On Playing Bench
“All of our starters logged twenty or more minutes. We got some quality play from our bench. We are at our best when our bench is giving us a big lift. When we are able to stay fresh, our defensive intensity was great the whole time. When they made runs, our defense is what helped us out. I thought Paul Williams did a great job and defended Stephenson well. Our bench has saved us a lot this year, and it is obvious tonight.”
On The Three Shots
“The threes came off some really good triple penetration and extra passes. Our defense and rebounding really created a pace in the early part of the game where we are at our best. The guys made good decisions with the ball. Those guys are able to stand up and knock them down. They were some good quality shots.”
On Playing against Guys You Know
“I had fun out there tonight. Playing against guys you know, they are going to play a lot harder for bragging rights. I played against Vaughn in high school, and they are a good group of guys. Their style is to get up and down and pound the glass and go. Getting out there and playing with those guys, is like high school all over again.”
On Going Inside Second Half
“I wanted to be aggressive. Outside shots weren’t following so I wanted to drive and be more aggressive.”
On Keys To Win
“We knew we had to stop their penetration and guard rebounding. We knew they were going to make runs, but we had to be poised and slow down.”