Chris Johnson had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in UD's 79-72 overtime win against Saint Louis.
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DAYTON, Ohio – The University of Dayton Flyers used a strong second half and overtime to top the Saint Louis Billikens 79-72 in both teams’ conference openers. UD improves its record to 11-4 and 1-0 in the Atlantic 10, while SLU falls to 12-3 and 0-1 in the Atlantic 10.
The Flyers trailed for most of the game and only led for one minute and 50 seconds of regulation. UD outscored the Billikens 15-8 in overtime behind six points by senior Paul Williams. Dayton outscored the Billikens 51-36 after halftime.
Redshirt junior point guard Kevin Dillard recorded his second career double-double as a Flyer with 18 points and 10 assists. Senior forward Chris Johnson also recorded his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
In the first game following redshirt junior Josh Benson’s season-ending ACL injury, freshman Alex Gavrilovic scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Luke Fabrizius started his first career game and scored 11 points, nine in the second half, on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Senior Paul Williams also added 11 points with six coming in overtime.
The first half was highlighted by 10-0 runs by each team. After a pair of Brian Conklin free throws with 5:59 remaining in the first half, UD scored 10 unanswered points over the next two minutes and five seconds to erase a 26-18 Billiken lead into a 28-26 Flyer lead. Saint Louis responded with 10 straight points of its own to close the half and take a 36-28 lead into the locker room.
Dayto started the second half with an 11-4 run to cut the Billiken lead to 40-39 with 17:24 remaining after a Dillard three-point play. UD cut the lead to just one twice -- 47-46 with 13:33 left and 52-51 with 8:56 remaining -- before taking its first lead of the half, 55-54, with seven minutes to go in regulation. That second lead lasted just 14 seconds before Saint Louis went back on top re-took the lead 56-55 on a jumper by Kwamain Mitchell.
The Flyers would not lead again until 42.1 seconds remained after a Dillard three-point play gave the Flyers a 62-60 advantage. Mitchell was sent to the line after a foul by Dillard with 29.3 seconds left. Mitchell converted 1-of-2 free throws to cut the Flyer lead to 62-61. Dillard was fouled by Mitchell on the inbounds pass and made both free throws to give UD a 64-61 lead. Dillard scored the last seven points of regulation for UD.
Cody Ellis sent the game into overtime, as he banked in a lean-in three-pointer from the left wing, with 1.1 seconds left to tie the game at 64, and send the Flyers and Billikens into overtime for the sixth time in the last six years.
Williams scored the first four points of overtime, all from the foul line, to give the Flyers a 68-64 lead with 3:20 remaining. Ellis hit a three with 2:33 left to cut the Flyer lead to 68-67. Fabrizius responded on UD’s next possession with a three-pointer to push the lead to 71-67. After a made foul shot by SLU’s Mike McCall, Williams hit a step-back jumper with 1:18 remaining to give the Flyers a 73-68 lead.
The Flyers made six of eight free throws in the final 43 seconds of the game to give Dayton its third straight win and sixth in seven games.
Dayton converted 24-of-55 (43.6%) from the field for the game, and Saint Louis made 24-of-62 (38.7%) field goal attempts. UD shot 12-of-25 (48%) in the second half while holding Saint Louis to just 9-of-31 (29%). UD shot 24-of-28 (85.7%) from the foul line and 7-of-14 (50%) from the three while Saint Louis shot 19-of-26 (73.1%) from the foul line and just 5-of-19 (26.3%) from beyond the arc.
The Flyers play their first conference road game on Saturday Jan. 7 in Philadelphia against the Temple Owls. Game time is 4:00 p.m. ET. The game will be carried live on CBS Sports Regional as well as WHIO TV and WHIO Radio.