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Dayton upsets North Carolina to win the 2010 NIT Championship

compiled from staff, wire reports and Dayton Athletics

Dayton mascot Rudy Flyer (UD)

Marcus Johnson scored 20 points and Dayton denied last season’s national champs another title, beating the North Carolina Tar Heels 79-68 Thursday night to win the NIT.

Relying on depth, defense, quickness and clutch 3-point shooting, the Flyers took home their first title in 42 years and handed North Carolina one more loss in a terrible season with an unheard of 17 losses.

Backup guard Paul Williams added 16 points for number 3 seed Dayton (25-12), which bounced back from a disappointing regular season of its own to win its third NIT title and first since 1968 under coach Don Donoher.

Chris Wright and Chris Johnson both had 14 points for the Flyers.

Picked to win the Atlantic 10 Conference, the experienced, athletic and quick Flyers faded late in the season and missed the NCAA tournament before turning things around and finishing on a high note.

Columbus Ohio native Chris Johnson says, “We struggled through the season. But being in the NIT, the entire team stayed positive and we showed we have heart and character.  It shows we are a good team, we just won a championship.”  Johnson,  just a sophomore was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

Devin Searcy slams one home (UD)

Will Graves shot North Carolina back into the game in the second, finishing with seven 3-point baskets and 25 points for the fourth-seeded Tar Heels (20-17), who started the season hoping for back-to-back NCAA titles.

North Carolina feel short in their attempt to grab  a dubious piece of college basketball history. A win Thursday night would have made them the first team to follow up an NCAA national championship with an NIT title the following year.

Dayton is a regular in the NIT field. This was their 22nd appearance, second only to St. John’s 27. The Flyers also won the NIT in 1962.

Marcus Johnson drives past defenders (UD)

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