Alex Gavrilovic came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points.
DAYTON, Ohio – A second-half surge lifted the University of Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team to a 61-40 victory over the Florida International University Panthers on Saturday night at UD Arena. The Flyers trailed the Panthers 30-22 at the half, but outscored FIU 39-10 in the second half, thanks to production off the bench by Josh Parker and Alex Gavrilovic.
UD was led by 14 each from Parker (12 in the second half) and Gavrilovic (eight in the second half). With their efforts, the Flyer bench outscored FUI’s 30-2. Paul Williams added 12 for Dayton, who improved to 8-3 with its third straight win.
Gavrilovic’s contribution was key as the top four players on Flyer frontcourt were plagued by foul trouble and injuries.
Junior Matt Kavanaugh and redshirt junior Josh Benson were limited to just 16 minutes apiece due to foul trouble. Senior Luke Fabrizius was unavailable for the game due to a rib injury suffered earlier in the week in practice. And senior Chris Johnson exited the game after just six minutes due to a hyperextended knee and did not return.
FIU big man Dominique Ferguson was the difference maker in the first half for the Panthers. The 6-9 sophomore scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbed 6 rebounds in the first half. He picked up his second foul with 14:45 left in the half, but re-entered the game shortly after. With him on the floor, the Panthers outscored the Flyers 30-18.
The defense provided the spark for the Flyers in the second half. UD held the Panthers to 3-of-13 shooting in the second half and forced 15 turnovers. The Flyers had seven steals for the game, including five in the second half. Kevin Dillard had three steals for the Flyers while Parker had two steals and Devin Oliver had two steals.
The 10 points given up by Dayton in a second half are the third-fewest allowed in Flyer history (modern era) and fewest since they gave up eight points to Richmond in the first half on Jan. 20, 2007. It also matched the lowest scored by a Flyer opponent in the second half (Roanoke on Jan. 9, 1978).
Dayton started out the second half with a 13-3 run in the first four minutes and 47 seconds, which included a Parker three-pointer with 15:37 left to give the Flyers a 34-33 lead. It was their first lead since the 18:40 mark of the first half. UD kept the momentum going as they stretched the run to 24-5 during the first 10 minutes and 30 seconds to give the home team a 46-35 lead.
The 14 points by Gavrilovic was a career high. The only freshman on the team had missed the last three games with an ankle injury. The 14 points were more than he had scored in the other seven games of the season (13). He also had a career high in rebounds (6) and minutes played (22).
Parker added five assists against just one turnover on the night.
The Flyers are back in action on Wednesday Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. ET as they take on the Seton Hall Pirates at UD Arena.