Down 17 in second half, Dayton roars back to stun Nevada

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 22 Mar, 2024 at 04:25 AM

Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

DaRon Holmes II scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and No. 7 seed Dayton stormed back for a 63-60 win over No. 10 seed Nevada in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's West Region on Thursday afternoon in Salt Lake City.

Dayton (25-7) erased a 17-point deficit in the second half to rally for its first tournament win since the 2014-15 campaign. Koby Brea finished with 15 points on five 3-pointers, and Enoch Cheeks chipped in 12 points.

"What a battle. What a battle. Just really proud of our guys," Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. "They never quit, showed tremendous resiliency. They've done that a few times this year where the chips weren't in our favor. They found a way.

"I'm extremely proud of the fight, the grit, the determination that our group showed tonight. That's a good basketball team that we beat. They've had a great year. But our guys never gave up. I'm proud of the way they believed in each other, believed in what we're doing."

Jarod Lucas scored 17 points to lead Nevada (26-8), which recorded the eighth-most victories in program history but failed to advance out of the first round. Kenan Blackshear and Nick Davidson finished with 15 points apiece.

Dayton advances to square off against No. 2 seed Arizona on Saturday.

Nevada led 56-39 with 7:39 remaining after Lucas drained a 3-pointer.

The Flyers responded with a 17-0 run to even the score at 56 with 2:45 to go. Dayton punctuated the run with a trio of 3-pointers, including two by Brea.

"We have a team that can get hot at any moment, even by metrics, if you just look at it," Holmes said. "We did a very good job with that. We got hot when we got hot. We stuck together. That's what happens."

Nevada regained a 60-59 lead with 1:03 remaining. Blackshear made a jump shot following a turnover by the Flyers.

Cheeks put Dayton back on top 61-60 with a layup with 34 seconds to go. Then with 15,5 seconds remaining, Cheeks made a pair of free throws to increase the Flyers' lead to three.

Davidson and Blackshear missed 3-point attempts in the final seconds for Nevada.

Blackshear said of the defeat, "Just a meltdown really. Can't really put it into words really. I take responsibility for it. It's on me."

Nevada coach Steve Alford added, "Really, really poor offense the last seven minutes, very poor defense. When you do that on this stage, you're probably not going to win very many games. That's really what happened tonight."

The Wolf Pack built a 34-25 lead at the half. They closed the first half on a 16-0 run to seize the lead.

Isaac Jack made a layup to increase Dayton's lead to 25-18 with 5:06 remaining in the half. That proved to be the final points for the Flyers before the break.

Tre Coleman started Nevada's run with a 3-pointer off an assist from Tylan Pope. Lucas followed with a jump shot, Blackshear made one of two free-throw attempts, and Lucas hit a 3-pointer to give the Wolf Pack a 27-25 lead with 2:19 to play.

Davidson added a 3-pointer and a layup and Blackshear made a jump shot in the final two minutes to increase Nevada's lead to nine points.

--Field Level Media